Why the future of business tech is in the public cloud

From the ease of procurement to speed and scalability, the public cloud offers a plethora of advantages over private clouds, says Agio CEO and founder Bart McDonough.

Tech Republic's Dan Patterson sat down with Agio CEO and founder Bart McDonough to discuss the public cloud vs. the private cloud.

Dan Patterson: Let's talk about the public cloud vs. the private cloud, and not just the benefits of each, but the security components of each. First let's define our terms. When we talk about the private cloud and the public cloud, what are we really talking about?

Bart McDonough: Yeah, so when I think of the public cloud, we're really talking about the infrastructure, the core infrastructure, so servers and storage and networking components. So we talk about those in two different clouds. The biggest difference now between public clouds and private clouds, public clouds you usually can procure very easily. You can procure with an email address and a credit card, and a private cloud, you normally have to contract a little more directly with the organization.

Another big difference is private clouds tend to be a little bit more all bundled. You have your service organization that's administering those servers and storage and network devices. Where in the public cloud you have a little bit more freedom to choose perhaps a different partner, a different integration partner to manage those assets.

Patterson: So the cloud is nothing new but this certainly seems, 2018 seems to be shaping up to be the year of the cloud wars. This may seem a little 101, but lets do this in increments. What are the advantages of the public cloud versus the private cloud?

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McDonough: So, most public clouds, and we're going to talk really about the big three, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are the really big three in here. They have geographic reach, they have regulatory controls, but really it's about expansion. So you have that dynamic environment where usually with a few clicks you can go from just a few assets to a few resources to almost infinite resources. Where private clouds, that kind of expansion usually comes with commitment, where in the public cloud you can expand up, you can burst, have a lot of compute power, a lot of storage, and then compress back down if your business needs require it.

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Patterson: So scalability.

McDonough: Scale is huge yeah.

Patterson: When we look at security, the world has a ton of feelings about this, but there are vulnerabilities to each, and there certainly are advantages and disadvantages, but the public cloud seems to be winning out at least in terms of security and vulnerabilities, why is that?

McDonough: Again, the scale of the resources of those businesses that are operating those public clouds. Microsoft is investing, I think the reported number is over a billion dollars a year in the cyber security of their environment. Now that said, there is a drawback, so if you do any kind of research into public cloud data breeches, it's not because the core infrastructure was breached, it was because people didn't configure it correctly.

So, there is an increased level of sophistication that's needed to operate a public cloud where normally on a private cloud you have a partner that's helping you do that. Again, I think there's a misconception, because it's easy to procure a resource, a server on the public cloud, that it's also easy to configure. It does require a level of expertise, a retooling if you will of staff and systems.


About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

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