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What Is a Public Cloud?

Business News Daily Editor
Business News Daily Editor

A public cloud is a scalable, cost-effective approach to providing online storage and services.

  • The most recognizable form of cloud technology are public clouds, which allow consumers to remotely access a large virtual environment of stored and sharable files. The data stored in a public cloud can be accessed by people around the world.
  • If you have ever watched a movie on Netflix or participated in a conference on Zoom, you have utilized the availability of a public cloud.
  • Although the concept of public clouds and private clouds are similar, there are several differences between the two, but the primary difference is that a public cloud is available over the internet, while a private cloud is deployed through a firewall.

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, 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.

Cloud of the people, by the people

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.

Advantages of public clouds

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 5GB 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.

Public cloud services

Consumers can pick from a wide range of public cloud services. If you own an iPhone 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.

What is an example of a public cloud?

Cloud is any information that needs to be accessed and shared on a virtual basis. There are many benefits to storing information in the cloud as opposed to on your electronic device. It is a way to overcome load balancing and issues with downtime, the entire infrastructure of an organization can put on the cloud where it can be accessed virtually from anywhere. Data storage and file sharing account for a lot of cloud use, with businesses and individuals sharing extensive files through cloud-based software. Some examples of businesses and individuals sharing public cloud may include the following


Zoom is a cloud-based software platform for video and audio conferencing. Meetings are recorded and saved to the cloud so users will have access to them at any time and from anywhere.


One of the largest gatherers of data is Netflix, which successfully migrated all of their databases to the cloud since 2016. As a result of storing data to the cloud, the steaming company can produce more content and take on more customers because data is stored in the cloud. Furthermore, cloud strage allows Netflix to handle increases in usage spikes, such as when a new episode is released. 

What is the difference between a private cloud and a public cloud?

When a public cloud is used, the users pay on a month-to-month basis for the usage of service per bandwidth, such as with Netflix. The users of the service don't have to buy additional storage hardware, because it provides on-demand scalability. It's the responsibility of the company providing the service to manage the infrastructure and set the resources. When a public cloud is used, the cost increases with the duration of the data storage.

A private cloud is accessed within a firewall, and the management is handled by the corporate enterprise that provides the service. The customer typically provides the necessary hardware used that is needed to operate the private cloud. The storage is generally not shared by anyone other than the individual user, and it is controlled by the company. 

Although both private and public clouds operate with a similar internal computing model to the host services, there are several primary differences between the two. The main difference is that a public cloud is available over the internet, while a private cloud is deployed within a firewall. For this reason, a public cloud is more suitable when users are spread around the world, because the private clouds are only accessible over the LAN. Public clouds may be less expensive than a private cloud, because the user isn't required to buy the necessary resources beforehand.

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