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Grow Your Business Technology

What is a Public Cloud?

What is a Public Cloud? Credit: Dreamstime

Public clouds are among the most recognizable form of cloud technology, allowing consumers to utilize a virtual environment through a series of shared servers that are openly accessible over a public network. With a public cloud, you can store your files remotely and securely, and then later access them for future use on a different computer.

This model of cloud computing sharply contrasts that of the private cloud, which uses a ring-fence technique of allocating specific servers for use exclusively by a client and only accessible within their own network.

Another cloud computing model, a hybrid cloud, combines the security benefits of a private cloud and the scalable capabilities of a public cloud. Businesses commonly use hybrid clouds to provide onsite resources that work in tandem with a server-based cloud infrastructure.

The public cloud offers a wide range of services to multiple clients while still utilizing a shared infrastructure. Many different business models exist in which this form of service is offered. Software as a service (SaaS) is a popular application, giving consumers access to software and online storage via remote servers. Infrastructure as a service (Iaas) and even platform as a service (PaaS) give users access to cloud-based web hosting and development environments.

Each of these caters to a public cloud method of resource sharing, though many are technically considered private clouds due to monthly service fees. Public clouds don’t often offer the same level of security and infrastructure as private clouds, commensurate to the level of service offered. [Related: 6 Cloud-Based Tools Your Business Should Be Using]

Depending on the Internet for the storage and security of data resources is a common practice in today’s world. Public clouds, like any version of cloud offer numerous inherent benefits, such as these:

Scalable. Cloud resources are typically available on demand, which means you can draw upon the cloud’s numerous online resources to any extent. However, because public cloud services are intended for open use by multiple consumers, companies will throttle speeds for individuals who utilize too many resources for too long.

Cost effective. Public cloud services are typically available to consumers with the price tag of “free.” Online storage services give upwards of five gigabytes for free, with increased storage capacity at incredibly low monthly rates. Centralizing the operation and management of the server resources and sharing them across all cloud services offered helps reduce overall costs for the company.

Location independent. Public cloud services exist through the Internet, which means the cloud is accessible wherever the client is located.

Consumers can pick from a wide range of public cloud services. If you own an iPhone, iPod or iPad, you’re already able to use a public cloud, namely Apple’s iCloud. This service allows you to back up music, books and other files from your devices, which can then be synced to the computer or across other iOS devices. Other public cloud services include Dropbox, through which you can sync files across multiple computers. Google Drive is considered a public cloud service, where you can create and store documents, spreadsheets and other files online.