The Three Types of Cloud: Public, Private and Hybrid

three types of cloud public cloud private cloud hybrid cloud cloud computing

The cloud has become a fundamental element for businesses. It was created when the amount of data a company needs to store and manage grew, and companies ran out of storage space.

Cloud computing offers scalable, flexible solutions for storing, accessing and processing data, applications, programs and files, making it a crucial tool in today’s digital world.

There are three types of cloud computing models you should know about: public, private and hybrid. By understanding each type and its pros and cons, you can decide which one to use for your specific business needs.

Read: 5 Reasons to Move to the Cloud

The Public Cloudpublic cloud cloud computing

Public clouds are the most common type of cloud computing. The cloud resources, including storage, hardware, software, applications, networks and supporting infrastructure, run on remote servers that are developed, owned and managed by third-party cloud service providers (CSP), such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, OpenStack and IBM Cloud.

The public cloud is multi-tenant, meaning all users, whether they are individuals or vast companies, share the same cloud, although their data and workloads are kept isolated via secure accounts. The users access the services and manage their accounts using a web browser and the internet, and most public clouds are accessible to users on a pay-as-you-go service model. This means companies have an easy time scaling up or down, and they don’t have to provide major capital expenses (CapEx) upfront. By having everything managed by a third-party CSP, businesses also don’t have to pay for the IT staff, equipment and infrastructure, as well as maintaining and operating it, making the public cloud highly cost-effective for companies with limited budgets.

Most users utilize the public cloud for various purposes, including email, online office applications, storage, software testing and development environments, web browsers, big data processing, collaboration and project management. The variety of services and resources can address the changing needs and goals of almost any business, no matter its size or industry.

Public clouds are generally secured with providers investing heavily in security measures like encryption, multi-factor authentication and air gapping. However, the shared nature of the infrastructure raises data privacy concerns for organizations with highly sensitive data. Also, public clouds have limited customization options since users must operate within the provided framework and are subject to the provider’s terms and conditions.

Pros and Cons of The Public Cloud

Cost-efficient Security and privacy concerns
Scalable Limited control
Globally accessible Lack of customization


Reliance on internet connection
Highly reliable Compliance and regulatory concerns
Low maintenance and automatic updates  
No CapEx  
Easy to use  
Fixed payment plan  


The Private Cloudprivate property keep out private cloud

As the name implies, private clouds are dedicated to a single business, which owns and manages the infrastructure, including hardware, software, networks and resources. The private cloud can be hosted on-premise or in a third-party data center with the cloud being delivered via a secure private network with firewalls and encrypted connections. Examples of the private cloud include HPE and Dell.

However, this means that private clouds have high technical complexity and require an in-house IT team, as well as high costs for setting up and maintaining the cloud infrastructure and scaling it to the company’s needs. That’s why most private clouds are used by government agencies, financial institutions, healthcare providers and other mid-to-large-sized companies.

With private clouds, access is limited to the organization that owns it, ensuring data isolation and control. Since the business has control over its cloud, it dictates the security measures and cybersecurity compliance. Data privacy and security are often higher with private clouds since it’s not shared with other entities. Private clouds also offer extensive customization options so businesses can tailor the infrastructure to their specific needs and goals.

Pros and Cons of The Private Cloud

Enhanced security and compliance Higher costs and CapEx
High customization Limited scalability
Predictable performance Difficult management and maintenance
More control High technical complexity
Exclusivity Limited mobile access


The Hybrid Cloudhybrid cloud cloud computing computer

Hybrid clouds combine public and private cloud resources so the company can take advantage of the best benefits. Third-party CSP and the business manage the hybrid cloud together, each with separate tasks and responsibilities. Hybrid clouds provide highly customizable options so companies can create tailored solutions that best fit their business and IT needs and goals. Examples include DataCore Software, Rackspace and Infinidat.

Most businesses set up their hybrid cloud to have sensitive data and workloads on the private cloud and less sensitive data and workloads on the public cloud. Companies can also use the public cloud for high-volume, lower security needs and the private cloud for sensitive, business-critical operations.

With hybrid clouds, companies can balance costs, control and security while ensuring optimal performance and scalability. They combine the pricing models of both private and public clouds so companies can assign resources as needed and save on infrastructure and maintenance costs. However, this does mean that hybrid clouds have the most complex management needed, requiring both public and private cloud technologies expertise. Strong compatibility and integration between the different cloud environments are needed for seamless transfer of data and applications.

A popular use for hybrid clouds is cloud bursting. This is when computing and process demands surge temporarily, and the private cloud can’t handle the traffic flux. A public cloud can assist the business in scaling up or down to address the changing capacity during these peak usage periods.

Pros and Cons of The Hybrid Cloud

High flexibility High complexity
High control Compatibility and data transfer concerns
High reliability Maximum maintenance and management
High customization Technical expertise required
High accessibility  
Cost optimization  
Easily transition between two clouds  


What to Consider When Choosing a Cloud Option

There’s no one cloud option that’s right for everyone. When selecting the suitable cloud model for your company’s needs, consider your specific requirements and goals. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your compliance or safety requirements?
  • How sensitive is your data?
  • What is your company’s growth plan?
  • Can you afford to set up your private cloud, or is a pay-as-you-go model better?
  • What are your IT budget and operational costs?
  • Do you have any IT expertise?
  • Can you or your IT team handle managing a cloud infrastructure?

The Right Partner for Cloud

With both cloud and cybersecurity needs, it’s important to have a team of IT experts in place to assist your company. At Thriveon, we provide ongoing IT strategy and consulting so you can navigate cloud computing, understand the pros and cons and mitigate any risks.

Schedule a meeting with us today to start your cloud move.

New call-to-action


Subscribe to our email updates


Subscribe to our email updates