Public vs. Private Cloud Computing Solutions: How Important is Data Privacy?

Posted by Mark Teter, Chief Technology Officer
July 1, 2013

Earlier this year we blogged about the inherent risks associated with using public cloud computing solutions for your applications. Namely, you just can’t guarantee the kind of uptime you need for many of the applications that businesses need to run their businesses. In these cases, a private cloud computing infrastructure may be a company’s best bet.

Now public cloud computing is coming under fire recently regarding data privacy. Data security has always been a hot topic for public cloud users, but with the US surveillance program (PRISM) coming to light, many cloud providers are voluntarily disclosing US law enforcement requests for data access, raising concerns on data privacy in the public cloud.

In a recent blog post, Charles Weaver, CEO of the MSPAlliance, shared his thoughts:

The problem with such disclosures is that it places these large public cloud providers in the position of having to defend their security and privacy policies to a public that increasingly has doubts about the privacy of public cloud computing. While public cloud has long been touted for its cost saving benefits, the recent press headlines about data snooping by US government agencies has brought considerable pressure on businesses to reevaluate their cloud strategies.

And reevaluate they should! We’ve shown that the financial costs for developing a private cloud computing infrastructure pays dividends by year three, making it the better investment (at least for larger organizations). Even a hybrid cloud computing infrastructure – where your data remains on-site and non-essential IT is relegated to the public cloud – can be more cost effective in the long run versus a pure public cloud environment.

As Mr. Weaver states…

What does the future hold for public cloud? I think it’s too early to tell. There is, and always will be, a place for public cloud. Primarily for customers and data that is just more cost conscious than customers who value data privacy more. What these news events do mean, however, is that nobody can be uncertain as to what the risks are for putting sensitive data in the public cloud. Odds are that at least someone is looking at that data.

So what do you think? Does data privacy in a public cloud computing environment concern you? Are you giving more thought to a private or hybrid cloud infrastructure? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop a comment below.

About Mark Teter Before he retired from ASG in 2013, Mark Teter was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the author of 'Paradigm Shift: Seven Keys of Highly successful Linux and Open Source Adoptions.' As CTO, Mark regularly advised IT organizations, vendors, and government agencies, and he frequently conducted seminars and training programs.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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