ringcentral-team
RingCentral Team
July 12, 2012

Migrating Your Business to the Cloud? Know the Three Layers of Cloud Computing

Analyst firm Forrester predicts that the global cloud computing market will grow from $45.3 billion in 2012 to “more than $241 billion in 2020.” As cloud service providers ourselves, RingCentral is seeing continued growth in our customer base – as such, we’re not surprised by Forrester’s forecast. In fact, the market for cloud computing is so immense as to be potentially overwhelming for any business looking for migration options.

To help you better understand your cloud options, we’ve outlined the three core layers of cloud computing comprising Forrester’s multi-billion dollar market forecast: the public cloud, the virtual private cloud, and the private cloud. As you evaluate the best cloud solutions for your business, start by first choosing the best core layer for you.

Public Cloud

Great for storing large amounts of not-so-sensitive data, public cloud storage and data backup are inexpensive and often free modes of keeping your business quick, light, and safe.  Just like any cloud service, you pay for just as much as you need – nothing more, maybe less. Public cloud services often offer free storage up to a certain point of space, and only then do they charge for what more you really need.  Although the word  “public” in its name sounds vulnerable, it’s actually more secure than your personal data storage – you can hold tight your servers and hard drives, but when hackers get their hands near it, you’re in trouble. Public cloud services specialize in keeping data secure, while making sure it remains easily accessible anywhere you have Internet connectivity.  With this evolution in data storage, there is no longer a need for additional data storage and backup hardware: being forced to lug around an external hard drive to keep your files safe and backed up when you travel. Utilizing the affordable luxury and availability of the cloud, all your information is ready and safe wherever you are connected. This also allows for BYOD, or Bring-Your-Own-Device, a feature of the public cloud that makes your business as flexible as those who make it run.

Private Cloud

Otherwise known as the internal or corporate cloud, the private cloud is for businesses handling sensitive information – whether it be client information or trade secrets unique to your business. It’s about flexible delivery of services such as servers, storage, and applications at the point of need, as needed, when needed. You can provision them, and de-provision them as business requirements evolve. With the private cloud, you know what you’re paying and what you’re getting. It also means that you own, or at least control, the cloud facility, which increases security and effectively reduces risk.  No matter where the actual storage facility resides, it is always secure, and usually behind the company’s firewall.  In the private cloud, security and recovery are paramount.

Hybrid Cloud

For businesses that need the security of the private cloud and the affordability of the public cloud, the hybrid cloud is the best option. As its name implies, the hybrid cloud is a combination of private and public cloud. Business critical information can be stored on a more secure (and therefore more expensive) private cloud, and other data that may not be so critical  can be stored on an inexpensive public cloud. Similarly, a virtual private cloud offers the same security and ownership of a private cloud on a public cloud basis. So, instead of directly owning a facility with data centers, you pay for a public cloud service provider for a private cloud system within their storage facility. The only difference here is that the storage is not directly owned by the user, but rather, transitively owned. Hybrid cloud options offer security and flexibility with cloud storage in a more affordable package.

Using these public cloud services may seem a risky jump, but it’s worth it, and it’s ever growing. CIO reported July 5, 2012, that92 percent of CIOs and IT professionals participating in the[ir] survey said that cloud technology is good for business, with 67 percent contending that it helps deliver better systems for less money”.  Every day, businesses are adopting the cloud. Now is the time to invest in and leverage cloud systems to improve and mobilize your business.