The Three Types of Cloud Computing Explained


The Three Types of Cloud Computing Explained

As companies strive to become more efficient, competitive and streamlined, cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular as it continues to form part of a longer-term digital transformation strategy for many organisations. Demand for cloud services has reached unprecedented levels during COVID-19, as companies have relied on it for communication, tighter security and cost savings as they have been forced to adopt remote working practices.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking and software over the internet, instead of through physical hardware located on premises. Most people use the cloud on a daily-basis, without even realising it, from communication via G-mail to file sharing via Dropbox.

Different types of Cloud

Businesses can utilise cloud solutions in different ways – a setup that works for one environment may not be suitable for another. There are three different types of cloud computing, as discussed in more detail below:

Public Cloud

A public cloud is is owned and run by third party cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Data is stored on a shared public cloud managed by the service provider, which you can access and manage through an online account.

Private Cloud

A private cloud is used exclusively by a single business or organisation. This can be physically located at an on-site data centre owned by the business or can be hosted by a third-party provider, however the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.


A hybrid cloud utilises functionality of both private and public clouds, which in effect allows for greater flexibility and more deployment options.

Below is a diagram of benefits and drawbacks of all three different types of cloud:



Public Cloud

- No maintenance costs

- High scalability/ flexibility

- Reduced complexity

- Flexible pricing

- Agile for innovation


Private Cloud

- Dedicated & secure

- Regulation compliant

- Customizable

- High scalability

- Efficient


Hybrid Cloud

- Policy-driven deployment

- High scalability/

- Minimal security risks

- Workload diversity supports high reliability



Public Cloud

- Potential for high TCO

- Decreased security & availability

- Minimal control


Private Cloud

- Expensive with high

- Minimal mobile access

- Limiting infrastructure


Hybrid Cloud

- Potential for high TCO

- Compatibility and integration

- Added complexity

Types of Cloud Service

Software as a service – also known as cloud applications, offers internet applications through 3rd party providers. Because these applications are provided over the internet, there’s no need to manually install, manage and update software.

PaaS – Platform as a service – this form of cloud service offers a framework for developers to build upon and create customised applications. All servers, storage, and networking is managed by the enterprise or a third-party provider, while applications are managed by the developers.

Examples of PaaS: Google App Engine

IaaS – Infrastructure as a service – the most flexible of cloud computing models, IaaS offers the full IT infrastructure including servers, network, storage and operating systems. Users have full control of their infrastructure and still have access to their data centre, it’s just managed and outsourced through a virtual data centre in the cloud instead of on premises.

Examples of IaaS: Microsoft Azure, AWS

Benefits of using the Cloud

Cost savings

Cloud computing removes the need for physical hardware that was traditionally purchased upfront and stored on customer premises. As the physical devices are no-longer maintained by the customer, the cost of ongoing and maintenance part replenishment is eliminated. The infrastructure no-longer requires space within the customer environment, which is often an expensive office premium, and associated physical services such as power and cooling are no longer required, further reducing costs. Most cloud services operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you only pay for what you consume, and longer term contracts usually result in considerable savings.


With the cloud, you have the ability to choose how much of what you require, when and where you require it. This applies to things such as computing power, storage and bandwidth. This is especially useful for start-up businesses who need to scale up in order to accommodate growth, but equally useful for scenarios in which a company faces a decrease in demand.


As there is no need for manual tasks such as setting up hardware and software or patching, IT teams are free to work on other areas of the business, increasing productivity.

Data Recovery

Data stored on the cloud is always backed up, so there’s no need to worry about it getting destroyed in the event of of a disaster. It also means that if anything was to happen, being able to access your data via the cloud allows you to continue business as usual, minimising downtime.

Stay up-to-date

Cloud solutions offer automatic updates to ensure you are making use of the latest technology, which can include software updates, server upgrades and computer power upgrades.


You may think data is less secure in the cloud as it is stored off premises, however most cloud providers are constantly working on security measures, which include practises such as data encryption, using the latest firewalls and enabling multi-factor authentication. They also have dedicated cyber security teams to monitor suspicious activity. Storing data in the cloud also diminishes the possibility of in house data breaches.

Cloud for remote workforces

With so many workforces being forced to go remote through the COVID-19 pandemic, many have adopted cloud solutions to enable employees to work from home efficiently with immediate effect, and these companies will undoubtedly remain using the cloud moving forward for the same reasons. While applications such as Microsoft 365 allow employees to access files from anywhere, Microsoft Teams enables them to stay connected through messenger and video conference while working remotely.

There has also been a surge in adoption of cloud-based security tools, which have been deployed to protect sensitive information in remote workforces. DaaS (Desktop as a service) solutions are being sought out by many organisations who plan to continue supporting remote working, as it allows users to access important applications and desktops on any device.

For more information about cloud services or migrating to the cloud, contact us today.