Over the past few years, cloud computing has been touted as the number one way to simplify, yet strengthen, how the digital world functions. Today, the benefits have been well documented. Thanks to cloud computing technologies, companies of all sizes are managing their IT operations in ways never imagined.

Using cloud resources, computer applications and services are delivered to users through networks or the Internet. Computational work is done remotely and delivered online for on-demand, anytime, anywhere, service availability. As a result, companies reduce storage and processing power on local computers and devices. They can invest less in infrastructure assets and operate with greater elasticity.

Because cloud technology creates exceptional value through better IT management, industry analysts predict continued growth. The McKinsey Global Institute, a business and economics research firm, predicts by 2025 most IT applications and services will be cloud-delivered. International Data Corporation (IDC), a market research firm specializing in information technology, expects cloud spending will surge by 25% in 2014, reaching over $100 billion.

This growth can be attributed to these major drivers:

  • IT departments continue to be taxed to do more with less. Cloud technology allows companies to cut costs, as well as add applications, services and capacity quickly.
  • Due to technological obsolescence, businesses often experience poor rates of return on their IT investments. Cloud technology eliminates companies spending huge amounts of money on infrastructure assets only to find them outdated in a few years.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses usually can’t compete with larger enterprises in building and managing IT infrastructures. Cloud technology frees SMBs from spending valuable capital on facilities and managing complex IT infrastructures. Therefore, SMBs will continue to expand into cloud technology in greater numbers so they can compete on a more even playing field.


An Overview of Cloud Models

Cloud services can be delivered via a public, private or hybrid model. Each cloud model provides value, however the best cloud for an organization depends on its specific requirements and portfolio of applications.

Public Cloud – In this model, third-party service providers own and manage multi-tenant IT infrastructures. Customers can access shared resources, including servers, operating systems, storage and bandwidth, from the service provider’s data center. Sharing components spreads costs across multiple users.

Public clouds allow organizations to avoid making large capital investments in IT infrastructure. Companies incur an operating cost instead of a making a capital investment.

In addition to requiring no upfront capital investment, public clouds are a good choice for applications experiencing changing demand. Public clouds offer high levels of elasticity for applications needing to scale up and down.

Private Cloud – Like public clouds, private clouds offer scalability. However, they’re configured for only one tenant. Organizations can build their own private clouds or they can partner with a service provider to deliver and manage them in the provider’s data center.

Private clouds make sense for companies requiring customized applications and greater infrastructure control. Companies often select private clouds when they must provide enhanced security or comply with regulatory requirements.

Hybrid Cloud – As the name implies, hybrid clouds consist of multiple types of clouds. They combine capabilities and leverage the benefits of each cloud used to create the hybrid model.

For example, an organization can lower costs by using a public cloud configuration for highly elastic applications or tertiary applications such as back-up storage or test and development programs. Yet, when specialized security and greater control is required, companies can place applications in the private area of the hybrid cloud.


When Security is Paramount, Public Clouds Can Be Risky Business

Even with the known benefits of agility and savings, some companies are not adopting cloud technology. They question whether applications and data in the cloud are truly secure. This is a major hurdle in adoption, especially in a public cloud model.

For example, analysts at 451 Research found 69% of respondents in a 2013 survey are greatly concerned with public cloud security. This significant figure indicates security issues can affect cloud adoption despite impressive industry growth projections and a slew of other benefits.

According to the Ponemon Institute, a research center dedicated to privacy, data protection and information security policy, companies often fail to incorporate reliable cloud security strategies. Ponemon surveyed 748 IT and IT security practitioners for a 2013 Security of Cloud Computing Users study and found only about half of respondents believed their organizations were incorporating best practices for cloud security.

When it comes to adoption and security, 46% of respondents in the Ponemon study indicated cloud deployment was impeded or slowed because of security concerns. The remaining respondents said cloud adoption wasn’t negatively impacted (45%) or were unsure (9%) of the effect.

As a result of significant security concerns, applications needing continuous uptime are typically not moving to the public cloud.


How to Ensure Cloud Security Using a Private Cloud

Fortunately, service providers offer solutions to address cloud security concerns. For example, CyrusOne works with companies to set up their own private cloud networks in CyrusOne data centers. This private cloud solution provides greater security, more control and increased scalability.

In addition, CyrusOne developed “Sky for the Cloud,” an enablement platform for the cloud. This solution provides the data center infrastructure or “home” for the cloud in a customized data hall where businesses can run their cloud system. It optimizes Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and enables fast interconnection to an ecosystem of over two dozen business partners, content providers, networks, carriers, Internet service providers and Ethernet buyers and sellers.

When properly deployed, cloud deployments provide a wide range of benefits. In a CyrusOne colocation scenario, companies experience all the benefits of cloud technology, including the highest levels of security, without the risks, expenses and headaches involved in building and managing an on-premise solution.

This post originally appeared on the CyrusOne website.