Providing a Healthy Balance
Performance and security can stand toe-to-toe in cloud applications
- By Charles P. Williams
- May 01, 2014
Datacenter traffic is predicted to triple by
2017 with the cloud as the biggest traffic
source, according to a recent Cisco
Global Cloud Index study. Cloud traffic
grew from 46 percent of total datacenter
traffic in 2012 and will continue
until it reaches 69 percent by 2017,
accounting for more than two-thirds of all datacenter traffic.
As cloud computing technologies turn mainstream, businesses
of all sizes are undergoing a migration process. When choosing a
cloud model, small- and medium-sized businesses tend to prefer
a public cloud where resources are shared for a lower total cost
of ownership; however, businesses that deal with critical information
cannot compromise on data integrity and security. Additionally,
there are certain applications that need more control over the
data being processed.
It is an undisputable fact that the public cloud offers highlyscalable,
IT solutions that bring agility to business processes at
reduced costs, even though multi-tenancy, RDP vulnerabilities,
BYOD, data encryption, data retention and compliancy issues
are major considerations that make CIOs hesitate before committing
to the public cloud.
This is where the private cloud comes into play.
Shifting to Private Cloud Computing
While private cloud design varies from company to company,
one common point is the advantage of resource availability for
increased performance while maintaining the security of the
Consider these key drivers behind the shift to private cloud
Enhanced data integrity and security. In a private cloud, there
is greater control over the data management system, while data
managed through processes is securely stored behind a firewall in a company’s datacenter. Private cloud
networks come with enhanced security
solutions that are augmented by network
Data is securely encrypted and transmitted
through a VPN tunnel so that unauthorized
people cannot access it. Moreover,
data retention issues are prevented as
the use of high-standard data sanitization
methods completely erases data when it’s
no longer needed.
Greater process visibility and control.
Cloud computing technology offers highend
virtualization tools to optimally use
resources. With private cloud computing
technology, there is a greater level of
transparency when it comes to networking
Customizing the functionality of the
virtualization server enforces security at
network level or virtual machine level,
and customizes virtual machines and application
delivery systems to meet business
requirements. Furthermore, the hypervisor
interface can be used to make changes
to virtual server settings, while in a public
cloud, options are much more limited.
Compliancy factors. As the data processed
within the networks is stored in the
datacenter, compliancy issues are resolved.
The private cloud overcomes any hurdles
relative to the various regulations on the
storage of data in different locations.
Moreover, the datacenter gains additional
control over the data being processed.
Private Cloud Challenges
While companies initially started with
public clouds, they are rapidly moving toward
the private cloud due to its personalized
optimization of resources and security.
However, there are certain challenges
associated with the private cloud.
Private cloud implementation requires
a larger investment. Though the cloud
provider offers the infrastructure, new software
and hardware needs to be purchased.
Additionally, traditional business processes
might not suit the private cloud setup,
so new processes need to be established
and that requires expertise and knowledge
of the technology. Likewise, understanding
how the new platform is created and
what security measures are enforced is key.
And, the infrastructure will still need to be
managed to some extent, requiring more
human resources, as well.
Using the Private Cloud
While private cloud computing provides
efficient, scalable and reliable systems, its
full potential lies in the virtualization of
applications, desktops, files and folders
that can be delivered to various devices.
The goal of the private cloud model is
to allow an administrator to manage their
technology infrastructure from a single
point and assign resources as needed.
Owning and managing a private infrastructure
may be less cost-effective for a
business, but it increases the organization’s
ability to manage and protect data. This
is especially important for businesses that
have strict compliance regulations.
The 12-Step Private Cloud Computing
comparison chart above clearly shows the
advantages of private cloud computing over
both public cloud and local computing.
Hybrid Cloud Computing
In practice, most businesses are using a
hybrid cloud solution. The reason is obvious.
In the initial days of cloud computing
technology, enterprises used public clouds
extensively for VDI, RDP and BYOD
requirements; however, over the last few
years, security issues, operational challenges
and data compliancy issues have become
a growing concern. This is why businesses
started shifting to the private cloud.
While the private cloud offered more control
and visibility over business processes,
huge investments and infrastructure management
still remained a concern.
With shrinking IT budgets and rising
business demands, companies are looking
for an intermediate model of cloud computing
technology. The hybrid cloud computing
solution rightly fits into this space.
Certain applications require more control
over data management solutions, while
other applications do not demand such a
high level of protection. By integrating the
public cloud with the private cloud, businesses
get the flexibility to isolate sensitive
data while still benefitting from the many
advantages offered by the cloud.
Hybrid cloud technologies are still developing
at a rapid pace, but one of the
biggest challenges posed is the dependency
on IT infrastructure. With complex
networking solutions running in an environment,
both private and public clouds
need to be efficiently managed. Choosing
the right provider for cloud computing solutions
can prevent outages and improve
redundancy issues, while offering the highest
The growth in cloud traffic is accelerating,
and CIOs need to have a clear strategy
to optimize business advantage. Be it
a public, private or hybrid cloud, choosing
the right model depends on the nature of
the business environment.
This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Security Today.