What makes private cloud hosting private, who uses these private clouds and how can they be identified?
These are some of the questions firms are asking as they look for opportunities to use outsourced hosting providers rather than reinvest in new equipment for their offices.
The UNSW Faculty of Law’s Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre defines a private cloud as hosted server “infrastructure operated solely for a single entity. It may be managed by the entity or a third party.”
This focus on the single entity makes private cloud server hosting perfect for professional services firms working within data sensitive fields like law, accounting and heath care. This is due to the full separation of client data as well as the more secure methods of access that private cloud services offer. Private cloud still offers the key benefits of general cloud computing in terms of IT resource flexibility, cost reductions due to economies of scale and fully supported and outsourced equipment but without all the security risks of the public cloud.
So what are some of the specific characteristics of private hosting services and how do they differ from standard “public cloud” services?
We believe data segregation is the single most important defining characteristic of a private cloud. Hosting client databases in a completely segregated way to ensure that one client will never have access to another client’s data ensures the privacy required by professional services firms. Other characteristics include ensuring a minimum of infrastructure resource allocation to your server, more security for data in-transit as well as having separate backups taken just for your server and data.
Public clouds typically have the following characteristics;
a single, complex database houses all client data with separation of client data only based on database record flags
no encrypted access to your data – access is via the public Internet
no backup/restore functionality available to clients to allow you to restore your data as it was at a previous point in time
if terminating the service your full set of data is not provided to you however some public cloud services allow you to export individual records, one at a time
no guarantees of where the data is stored – for cost efficiencies most public cloud services host the data outside of Australia which contravenes most professional services firms privacy policies.
full sharing of hosting infrastructure resources across all users
no “brute-force” limitations – potential hackers can use software to try millions of combinations to gain access to your account
Habitat3 Private Cloud servers have the following characteristics ;
individual secure access is provided through Microsoft’s remote desktop/application technology or via proprietary encrypted web access.
encrypted hardware-based IPSEC virtual private network access is also available
each client is provided with their own separate Windows server to host their required applications and data
these Windows servers are located within their own Virtual LAN/network
client servers are separately backed up and stored in an encrypted state allowing for restoration of the full server or parts of the data at previous points in time
critical server resources are dedicated to each client to ensure the best possible user experience
a full set of client data can be provided to the client if the service is terminated
all data is stored with Australia at all times
if a password is entered incorrectly three times the user account is locked stopping any attempt at a “brute-force” attack
Private cloud = safe environment for professional services firms
Public cloud services offer businesses and consumers with great cost effective options to harness the benefits of the Internet. However, for certain data sensitive businesses a private cloud is essential when looking for external hosting to ensure the security, privacy and integrity of their business data.
More about John Perkins
John is the founder and a Director of Habitat3 and is responsible for working with existing and potential clients to ensure Habitat3’s service offerings continue to meet the needs of professional services firms. John is a former IT journalist, holds an MBA in IT strategy and has worked within the IT industry for 20 years.