Avoid BYOD cloud sprawl and greasy fingers with a private cloud

Summary:A private cloud is more secure than public ones for your users and your company's data and is your answer to the inevitability of mobile device-induced cloud sprawl. You want fries with that private cloud?

It's true. Private cloud solutions are better than public ones. Now, that might sound like a classic sweeping generalization to you, but private clouds are better as far a security, privacy, and control. Of course, the cost is not better. But, when you consider your data's value, the cost becomes negligible compared to losing it completely. I'm not saying that public clouds are inherently insecure or that they lack privacy controls. Most public clouds are acceptably secure but they're not as secure as private clouds. And, they never will be.

Consider the following food-related analogy for illustrative purposes.

If I own a single restaurant, Ken's Awesome Burgers, located at a busy intersection in a large city, I might be able to serve 1,000 people per day. It's open 24 hours per day. Ken's Awesome Burgers is like a private cloud. You have to come to it, it's always available and it has lots of patrons (users) but its scope and range are fairly limited. It probably has a dedicated, local following. Again, think private cloud here.

Now, Jason decides to open a chain of burger joints, Jason's Ultra Burger, plus he's going to have mobile kitchens puttering around the city, parking in various locations to scoop up a broader customer base. He serves more than 20,000 people per day and operates 24 hours per day. That is a public cloud.

Which operation has more control over quality, freshness, contamination, and, yes, even security?

Obviously, the single, non-mobile location.

Which one serves more patrons?

The one that's public. By design, Jason's has more exposure.

I can take the analogy even farther by saying that not only is the single location more secure but it's also more intimate. I might only serve 1,000 patrons per day but I know most of them. The service is better, in other words.

Why is the single location more secure?

Because to rob it, a thief would have to come to the location, enter through the door, make his way through the patrons, find the safe, and then rob it. Or, at least rob one of the registers. Sure, a collective attack would make it easier to achieve success but the risk is much greater.

Jason's multiple locations and certainly his mobile restaurants are far more vulnerable to attack because of their more public nature. They're more exposed. Greater access creates a larger attack vector. It is this very fact of a public cloud's larger attack vector that makes many security professionals cringe at the mere thought of using a public cloud provider.

Both Jason and I serve our patrons. We serve different patrons. Private clouds serve a limited group and public clouds serve everyone.

There's nothing particularly wrong with public clouds, multiple-location burger joints, or mobile burger kitchens. But, for companies that value their privacy and security, there's no question of which option provides better service to its patrons. Same argument applies to hamburger restaurants.

If I just want something fast and don't care about customer service or particularly high quality, I'll eat anywhere that's cheap and convenient--and store files in public clouds too. When I want to sit down and dine or use a very high-quality cloud service, I'll opt for the more intimate version every time.

And, although we all want to keep our private cloud private, it's also nice to be able to call in a "to-go" order once in a while from our favorite burger haunt. For the private cloud, I'd like to be able to access it from home as well. And on my mobile devices wherever I happen to be. And, yes, I do want fries with that.

What do you think of private clouds for keeping private files private? Are private clouds the only option for businesses or can public clouds be trusted? Talk back and let me know.

Editorial comment: How long before someone starts a company named Burger Cloud or Cloud Burger? Is there a possibility of a combination cloud storage and burger bar on the horizon?

Topics: Security, Bring Your Own Device, Cloud, Privacy

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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