Private Cloud Storage:
EVERYTHING You Need to Know
Private cloud storage is a term that comes up frequently, but not many people understand it.
This article exists to clear up the misconceptions and explain private clouds in simple words. That’s right, folks, you don’t need a PhD in Computer Science to follow along. Read on to learn about:
- Cloud Vs. local storage
- Types of cloud storage
- Private, public, and hybrid cloud solutions
- Pros & cons of private clouds
- … and so much more!
At the end of it, you’ll know much more about the data storage options for your business. This will make it easier to decide – and pick the most affordable and efficient solution for you!
What Is Private Cloud Storage?
Private cloud storage is a solution where your files are on a dedicated server that nobody else uses.
Some choose to build their own data center in-house. Others hire private cloud providers that offer the service for a fee. Private cloud service is popular with larger companies and those looking for an extra layer of security.
But how exactly does this work?
To understand private cloud storage, let’s first zoom out and look at cloud storage as a whole:
Understanding Cloud Storage
You have data. Whether it’s your graduation video or your company’s legal documents, it’s all files – or strings of data – to a computer. You want to keep that information safe yet accessible.
Where do you put it? You have two options:
- Local storage, meaning a flash drive, a hard drive, or even a CD.
- Cloud storage, where you give those files to a third-party data center and access them through the Internet.
But why use cloud storage? It sounds like you’re giving your valuable information to someone else – rather than looking after it yourself.
You can think of cloud storage like a bank. Instead of keeping your savings in a jar, you give them to the bank, which stores them for you. This is safer since the money is probably in a super-strong underground bunker (and insured).
Similarly, cloud storage uses large data centers to keep your information safe. You can access the files anywhere – as long as you’re connected to the network. Plus, there is another major perk to cloud storage and cloud computing as a whole:
Any single device (your laptop, mobile phone, your Tamagochi from third grade) has a certain amount of computing power. A quantum computer is way more powerful than a tablet, but you still have a limit to how much it can handle.
In cloud computing, we pool resources together to make better use of them. This includes hardware, networks, applications, services, etc. These resources work together to make the cloud – and their power is accessible over the Internet.
So, with cloud storage services, your file isn’t just on a single server. Instead, it is stored across data centers, which are the pooled resources that create the cloud.
There are multiple benefits of choosing the cloud over traditional local storage – we already mentioned some of them:
- Safety, since cloud storage providers have much more robust cybersecurity than the average hard drive.
- Accessibility – wherever you go, your files are coming with you. All you need is an Internet connection.
- Collaboration – if several people work on the same file, the cloud acts as a shared space. You don’t have to send a document to each colleague separately – instead, you can all modify it right on the cloud.
Plus, a cloud storage solution is usually more cost-effective, as it saves internal resources without sacrificing security or usability.
But, this brings us back to private cloud storage. Unlike a public cloud, this solution often involves your own in-house servers. So, is it worth it – and who might benefit from it? Let’s compare it to other cloud storage solutions:
Public Vs. Hybrid Vs. Private Cloud Service
The thing with cloud technology is you can scale it to fit your needs.
You can use a cloud that somebody else built and is running for you. You could also use the same computing principles to create your own private cloud. And, you can do a combination of both, too. Here is how that works:
Public Cloud Storage
In a public cloud, you have a third-party company that maintains the infrastructure and gives you access to the storage service.
Most of the providers we review on Tech Colibri fall within this category.
Let’s take pCloud (our #1 choice for 2021) as an example. They have two primary data centers – one in the US and one in Europe. When you sign up, you can choose where your data goes (either Dallas, Texas, or Luxembourg). Then, you back up your files, and you’re done.
pCloud takes care of:
- Collocating the data centers
- Physically maintaining the servers
- Software upkeep
- Encrypting your data to keep it safe
- Keeping your files accessible
All you have to worry about is remembering your password to the client portal. It’s the perfect personal cloud storage – and it’s also great for most companies.
However, for those who happen to store particularly sensitive data (say, the secret formula that makes Nutella better than any off-brand alternative), a private cloud server might be a better choice:
Private Cloud Storage
In a public cloud, you’re sharing the servers with other people. There are billions of documents, photos, videos, and whatnot on the pCloud servers.
With a private cloud solution, the server is only for you. Since no other clients are using the machine, private clouds are inherently safer, though they are also more expensive.
You could build your own cloud for this or use private cloud providers that sell the service. Either way, you will enjoy more privacy and better security – though you will be paying an exclusive price for it.
Hybrid Cloud Storage
Hybrid cloud computing is actually what most companies use for their software needs.
Let’s take my imaginary startup as an example:
FindMeANerd is a matchmaking service exclusively for nerds and geeks. It’s a website and mobile app with tons of profiles, plus a free dating advice section (let’s face it, we need all the help we can get.)
Now, for some of the startup’s needs, we’ll need a global partner. A public cloud can help us deliver content all over the world because all nerds deserve love. But, some stuff we can do ourselves – such as write and edit the articles on local storage.
Using a combination of private and public clouds is what’s called hybrid cloud computing.
It’s the same with cloud storage. You can use the cloud for backing up your data but still save essential files on your device’s hard drive or the company NAS.
Private Cloud Examples
Now that you know what private cloud storage is, let’s go through (even more) examples to illustrate it:
Storing the Secret Formula
Let’s say you’re the owner of Nutella. Yes, we’re going back to that because I’m craving a sweet snack as I write this. Even if you don’t have a massive sweet tooth like myself, you’re welcome to stay.
You run a huge company, so you have an internal network that links together all of Nutella’s computers.
And, there is a crucial piece of information on one of these computers. It’s the top-secret, super-delicious, one-of-a-kind formula that all your competitors want to steal.
Now, you’re constantly working on improving the taste, so the formula has to be shared among several employees. However, you don’t want to send it over the Internet since it means risking someone intercepts the signal.
So, you pool together all your computers and create a cloud. It’s an on-premise, private cloud storage, all behind your firewall. Now, it’s much harder for hackers to get to your secret – as it’s stored away from the Internet.
Hiring a Consultant
What do you do? Easy. You use a public cloud for storing non-sensitive data. At the same time, the formula is safe and sound on your private server.
Running Nutella is about more than just chocolate. To improve your marketing, you hire a social media manager from a consulting firm. You want to give them access to promotional material, but you don’t want them to steal the secret formula.
Public storage like pCloud is fantastic for collaboration and accessibility. Your consultant might live an ocean away, and she can still open all files that you share. Pretty neat, huh?
Oh, and side note. Yes, I know Nutella isn’t a separate company. It’s actually owned by Ferrero Rocher; there’s probably no single ‘boss of Nutella.’ It was just an example, okay?
Okay. Moving on:
Cloud Storage Privacy: Do You Really Need a Private Cloud?
Private clouds are owned and operated by you – or any single company.
You can build and manage the cloud in-house or hire a private cloud provider to do it for you. Some of the most prominent private cloud vendors include VMWare, Microsoft Cloud, HP Helion, and more.
However, most businesses might not even need a private cloud. You can have safe and private file storage with a shared service. In fact, thousands of companies are already doing it since it’s cheaper and more convenient than a private cloud.
Private Cloud Storage: Pros & Cons
Having your own private cloud sounds like the perfect privacy solution, right?
Well, sure, it’s a very secure way to keep your information. But, it’s not without disadvantages. Before you jump the gun and start building your own on-premise data center, consider the pros and cons.
The main advantages of private cloud storage include:
- Control – with a private cloud solution, you practically own the cloud. Your IT team can deploy applications, monitor analytics, and proactively prevent any bottlenecks. – One of the best things about cloud computing is it fits your needs. Both public and private clouds offer supreme scalability. With a private solution, though, you have complete freedom to tailor the service to your current needs.
- Security – your data center, your data, right? With a private cloud, the information doesn’t even leave your organization. It’s stored, managed, and edited in-house. No external privacy risks – and it’s just your employees that have access to the cloud.
- Compliance – if you’re dealing with large volumes of sensitive data, chances are there are strict laws you have to comply with. With a public cloud, assessing security logs can be difficult, especially if there’s a data breach. If you build your own private cloud, though, you have complete control over the information – and compliance becomes much easier.
Now, these were the good news. But, there is a flipside to private computing solutions. These are the disadvantages to keep in mind before you decide to build one:
- Expensive – your upfront costs of building a cloud can be humongous. Not only do you need the infrastructure (physically buying the devices), but you’ll have to hire additional IT experts to build it. And, it’s not just a one-time cost, either.
- Technical difficulties – sure, a private cloud puts control into your hands. However, it also means you’re responsible for any issues that come up. From building the infrastructure to keeping it going, there is a lot that could go wrong. Third-party providers have multiple experts working to ensure everything is up and running. When something goes wrong with a private cloud, you’re usually on your own.
- Not small-business-friendly – for most companies, private storage simply doesn’t make sense. It’s pricey and time-consuming. Even a mid-sized business usually lacks the resources to build it. The good news? You probably don’t need to.
Business Data Storage: The Best Solutions
You can have the perks of cloud storage without the challenges of private infrastructure. Nowadays, most public clouds have enterprise solutions that keep data safe, help you collaborate, and won’t cost an arm and a leg.
With so many options, how do you choose the best choice for your business?
Well, that would depend on your needs. But, if you want a quick answer – pCloud Business rules the game in our book.
Launched in 2015, pCloud’s enterprise cloud storage solution comes packed with features that make running your business easier (and your data more secure):
- Unlimited users with full access, editing, and sharing rights (you do pay for each of these, though)
- End-to-end encryption, proven impossible to break
- 1TB of storage for each user
- Access management with different user tiers
- 180-day file versioning, where users can view old versions of the file and check who made the latest changes
- Cross-device availability with a web app, desktop app (Windows, Linux, and macOS), and a handy mobile app
Plus, this is one of the most affordable business solutions we have seen. The Business plan normally starts at just $7.99 per user if you pay annually. With monthly billing, it’s still $9.99 per user.
But, do you want an even better offer? We contacted our pCloud advisor and negotiated a deal for you. The first 20 users that sign up through us get a discount on the Business plan. Plus, our advisor will personally assist you with any questions or issues. It’s pretty much the best business plan offer we’ve seen. Make sure to take advantage!
Oh, and did we mention they have a 30-day free trial? There is really no reason not to check them out.
Are you interested in even more enterprise file sharing and storage solutions? Keep an eye out for our dedicated article, where we’ll review a bunch of these services.
Private clouds are a computing solution where you have a dedicated data center for your files alone. It’s a popular choice among large companies, especially those dealing with sensitive information. The private cloud is also inherently safer than public storage, provided that it was built by professionals and maintained adequately.
For most people, though, private cloud storage doesn’t make sense. Not only is it way more expensive than hiring a third-party service, but it’s also more time-consuming and complicated.
With excellent business data storage solutions, most businesses won’t need their dedicated cloud. Services like pCloud have excellent security (military-grade end-to-end encryption, for example), and they’re also more affordable and user-friendly than a private cloud could ever be.
The bottom line is clear:
While private cloud storage might have its advantages, in 99.9% of cases choosing a public solution is the smarter (and cheaper) idea.
Here are the answers to your most common private-cloud-related questions:
In private cloud storage, you have a dedicated data center. Most companies install data clusters in-house and integrate them through an application. This storage model keeps files behind the company firewall, but it’s much more expensive and complicated than a public cloud.
Our favorite personal cloud storage solution is pCloud. It’s functional, user-friendly, and offers a bunch of free space. kDrive and Mega are close seconds.
Private clouds are a solid solution for large enterprises. They’re a way to keep information protected while optimizing IT resources. A private cloud solution is also great for sensitive personal data, especially if legal compliance requires you to keep a close watch on those files.
The most significant disadvantage of private clouds is they are expensive and complicated to build. Investing in the infrastructure and hiring the right IT team can easily break the bank, even if you’re not a small business.
Yes, it is. In private cloud storage, you still have resource pooling, and you access files over the network. Ultimately, the architecture is similar – the only difference between a public and a private cloud is who owns it.