Many managers and business owners have become increasingly intrigued by the promise of cloud computing, and rightfully so. Such IT solutions can provide an excellent return on investment because they can dramatically increase employee efficiency while lowering IT costs. What most people think of as ‘cloud computing’, however, has one major drawback: loss of complete control over software programs and in some cases, data.
The example of Gmail can be highly instructive. By setting up a business account with Google and shifting email services onto their servers, businesses can indeed lower costs. For some, however, the model is nerve-wracking. Features in Gmail evolve over time; when the overall look of the interface recently changed, all users were affected, and even those who might strongly prefer not to transition to a new interface. Even more alarming to some might be the fact that data in Gmail is stored on Google's computers. This creates the possibility that at some point in the future, the data might become inaccessible to the business that needs it.
The private cloud is a solution to these drawbacks of cloud computing. In a private cloud, resources are pooled from dedicated resources just as in a public cloud, but the business itself will retain control of the software and data stored on the servers providing cloud computing. A private cloud, however, does require some expertise to set up and maintain. Many businesses benefiting from the private cloud model find that a managed services approach to IT support enables them to transition smoothly and experience high levels of success with the new model.