Today businesses and individuals alike take advantage of cloud services every day. These tools are accessible for all manner of uses, from email hosting to data analysis, and have become an essential element of business operations.

Companies with more complex requirements usually need to deploy some combination of public and private clouds based on a variety of factors and needs. But what are private clouds, and how do they differ from public clouds?

A public cloud environment is provided by a third party, which shares its servers with several clients to reduce costs. This type of cloud infrastructure is the most common, with cases such as web and email hosting services and cloud storage in abundance today.

Private cloud environments are single-tenant solutions: a digital infrastructure set up for a single company. This cloud solution can be on-premises within the organization itself or off-premises in an externally located data center.

The primary differences between private and public cloud services lie in the exclusivity and responsibility for the servers. A public cloud provider is responsible for protecting the integrity of the servers and keeping them active. In a private cloud, the organization is responsible for protecting the servers and, primarily, the information contained therein.

Organizations may decide to implement private cloud solutions as a regulatory requirement or for their competitive advantages. If so, they need to develop what is known as private cloud security. This consists of the tools, processes, and techniques used to maintain, update, and protect the company’s cloud infrastructure.

What Are the Benefits of Private Cloud Security?

No cloud solution is necessarily superior to another. Each type meets specific business needs and has its advantages and disadvantages for various operational and risk factors.

The private cloud model is characterized by the organization’s control over the security and customization of the cloud. Companies can deploy different software providers such as VMware, Cisco, or Microsoft Azure, to assure those providers are compatible with other operational tools.

Organizations that implement private cloud resources must make the necessary investments to protect their data and infrastructure. At the same time, they may avoid the risk of sharing sensitive data or personal data of their users to third parties. Limiting third-party and compliance risks are especially important in heavily regulated areas such as the healthcare sector.

What Are the Most Common Threats to Private Clouds?

Private cloud deployment brings its own set of risks versus a public model, and those risks must be accounted for when formulating a cloud policy suited to the organization’s risk appetite and objectives. The most common risks of a private cloud are:

Security Concerns

The common threat to any element of a digital ecosystem is the cybersecurity aspect. Unlike public cloud service providers, whose primary responsibility is to protect the infrastructure they provide, companies that deploy private servers have diverse agendas, and the security of the servers may not be their core area of expertise.

Although no ecosystem is safe from cyberattacks, public cloud vendors are more prepared to protect their infrastructure as a service (IaaS) from direct attacks on their cloud platform. They invest significant resources in strengthening their network security with activities such as setting up dynamic firewall rules and conducting frequent penetration testing.

Besides cybersecurity, an in-house cloud deployment also requires physical security mechanisms that prevent unauthorized agents (internal or external) from threatening the integrity of the network infrastructure.

Performance Issues

Deploying a private cloud solution entails ongoing maintenance responsibility, and neglecting this aspect can have severe repercussions for the company’s operations.

When new updates are released and not applied on time, there is a risk of exposing the ecosystem to exploitable vulnerabilities or destabilizing the environment, causing imminent data breaches or downtime.

Inadequate Capacity

Private cloud solutions depend on the physical servers deployed, and that hardware capacity depends exclusively on the company’s direct investment. Therefore, accurately identifying the organization’s needs plays a crucial role in implementing an effective private cloud solution.

A poor determination of business requirements can result in overspending that harms the business, with resources going unused and therefore wasted. Or it can lead to underinvestment, which can cause instability or an inability to maintain business processes.


Another significant risk to consider is regulatory compliance. Implementing a private cloud can be the first step to comply with special regulations that require such an IT infrastructure. At the same time, a private cloud also burdens the company with responsibility for regulatory compliance. Whatever those obligations might be (for security or data privacy), the company must fulfill those obligations itself.

How Is Private Cloud Security Different from Public Cloud Security?

Whether you decide to use a public, private, or hybrid cloud system in your company, it is essential to develop cloud security strategies and processes that effectively and efficiently reduce your business risks. Understanding the differences between private and public cloud security is imperative to these decisions.

Public cloud security does not take into account physical and access security in the cloud. Instead, platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud are in charge of protecting the servers they provide as IaaS, with physical barriers and digital tools such as encryption methods and authentication services.

At the same time, cloud vendors do not bear all the responsibility for protecting the stored information. The cloud client must mitigate the risks of unauthorized access with its credentials and damage to the integrity of the servers from its network.

On the other hand, private cloud security is exclusively dependent on the company that uses it. The company, and the company alone, must consider all the security risk management strategies, including the servers’ physical and digital protection policies.

Keep Your Cloud Data Secure with Help from ZenGRC

As cybersecurity risks in cloud computing environments grow, developing a scalable approach to manage risk, achieve compliance, and take action as new threats arise is more critical than ever.

Enlisting the support of a cloud computing security solution is critical for managing short-term risks and implementing risk management processes to handle new threats over time.

ZenGRC assists in assuring that your organization performs its due diligence for risk analysis and mitigation, and that your cloud environment fulfills all compliance needs, whether those needs be for HIPAA, NIST, FedRAMP, or other obligations.

ZenGRC’s capability can also assist you in implementing preliminary self-audits with our compliance templates so that you can get started right away. Furthermore, its user-friendly dashboard delivers a comprehensive overview of your regulated data, systems, services, and vendors, indicating where the gaps exist and how to close them.

The ZenGRC platform provides an integrated user experience that enables you to monitor all of your security controls and track risk in real-time, regardless of where your data is housed. Request a demo today to discover more about ZenGRC’s innovative approach to cloud security and risk management.