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Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud vs. Internal Hosting

Samuel Hatton
Samuel Hatton
September 29, 2015

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Should I keep my servers internally and back them up to the public cloud? Should I host them in a private cloud with some minor internal hosting redundancy? Should I exclusively use the public cloud (like Dropbox for business) and forget about internal hosting altogether?

These are questions that business owners, CIOs, IT professionals or anyone else in charge of making network strategy decisions ask themselves at some point or another. These are all good questions. However, here are some often overlooked questions:
  • How much risk am I willing to take on?
  • What are my long-term business needs?
  • Are they aligned with my core values? Mission statement? Bottom line profits?

Granted, the answer to these questions needs to be aligned with their strategic business objectives.

Here are the most common options:

  1. Public cloud - Servers are in various places
  2. Internal hosting - Servers are all In-house (may or may not have a backup)
  3. Private cloud - Servers are hosted off-site

Let’s unpack the pros and cons of each of these options.

Public cloud - Dropbox for business / Microsoft 360 / Microsoft Azure

The scalability, redundancy, and affordability make this a very attractive option for a business that will never do any sort of data optimization, analysis, or development. Using only a public cloud works for tiny businesses (0-10 employees) that have very little need in the tech space.


  • Redundant
  • Scalable
  • Affordable
  • Automatic backup and recovery

CONS - Dropbox

  • You don't own your data
  • Hard to integrate personal and business accounts
  • Severe limitations to database integration
  • Severe limitations to business intelligence

CONS - Microsoft cloud

  • Designed to be cookie cutter automatic
  • File size limits
  • Can't access old files
  • MS created standards that force you to be current
  • If you have an industry tool that runs on XP simply put, it won't work
  • Application program interface (API) is limited

Traditional internal hosting

The customization, integration, and ability to access legacy files are the biggest benefits to using traditional internal hosting. This is a very good option for a company that has little to no need to connect to their data when they are outside their building.


  • Complete customization for business intelligence
  • Complete database integration
  • You own your data
  • No limits on file size
  • Ability to run old operating systems
  • Access to older files


  • No automatic backup
  • Not scalable
  • If building burns down, you have to restore from offsite backup

Private cloud - the best of both worlds

Private cloud is the best of both worlds for companies that have a long-term vision and want to create customized data processes for managing their day to day business. You get all the redundant, scalable, low-risk benefits of public cloud and the full customization of internal hosting. For forward-thinking businesses that are larger than just a few employees and looking to reduce risk, private cloud is the smart option.


  • Complete customization for business intelligence
  • Complete database integration
  • You own your data
  • Unlimited file size limits
  • Ability to run old operating systems
  • Access to older files
  • Automatic backup and recovery
  • Redundant
  • Scalable


  • Costs more than public cloud 

These are the major differences between private cloud, public cloud, and internal hosting. Most companies choose to have a combination of each of these services depending on their unique circumstances.

Hopefully, this article helps you better choose which is best for you. If you would like to discuss this more and how it relates to your own company, feel free to connect with us.

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