The level of maturity in the area of cloud computing is continuously developing within organizations and businesses.

As of 2022, 60% of corporate data was stored in the cloud (source: Zippia), which means that a majority of companies have already opted for a cloud set-up to store their most valuable data, in particular for reasons of security and reliability.

For many years, organizations backed up their most sensitive data on physical media (servers, tapes, etc.) located in their own premises.

Some companies continue to do so. Admittedly, there is something reassuring about such a set-up: keeping your company’s sensitive data close at hand in the most literal sense creates an illusion of security that can be comforting.

However, IS departments are increasingly aware of the importance of using external servers to back up their company’s data, as doing so ensures greater flexibility and increased security.

Private, public, hybrid, or multicloud: which cloud computing set-up best meets the needs of corporate IS departments, and companies’ objectives in general? It all depends on how the organization uses the cloud.

This article delves into the main differences between these four cloud computing set-ups, and the benefits they can bring depending on the organization’s priorities.

Private, public, hybrid, or multicloud?

Not every CIO would automatically agree to entrust their company’s data to an external service provider to get the benefits of cloud computing.

For many companies, security concerns remain a barrier. However, data can be safely migrated to the cloud as long as the right cloud computing set-up is chosen, depending on the organization’s needs. So, private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, or multicloud?

Cloud computing, a vast market

A study called Markess by Exaegis projects annual growth of 14% for the cloud computing market in France, rising to a total business volume of €27 billion by 2025. At the European level, the sector is expected to generate sales of €560 billion by 2030 (government source).

So, the market for cloud computing is enormous. In 2020 alone, 61% of companies migrated data to the cloud (source: Zippia).

According to a study conducted by IT Infosys, the decision to migrate data to the cloud is primarily motivated by the need to integrate emerging technologies and to remain competitive.

For companies that opt for the cloud, the primary objective is to improve the customer/user experience. They also want to standardize the technological environment in which their employees work.

The Cloud is taking root in companies for the long term

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a set-up that has enjoyed considerable growth worldwide, and not just in terms of technological innovations. A range of additional services is offered in parallel. 

SaaS applications are gaining a lasting foothold in small and large businesses. Such applications have become major development drivers when it comes to outsourcing, simplification, and quickening the pace of business activity.

Cloud computing plays an increasingly important role in organizations, but it is important for each organization to choose the option best suited to its needs. Private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, or even multicloud…

Each option has its own advantages, and CIOs need to understand the ins and outs of the various cloud computing set-ups in order to choose the right one for their organization.

Moving towards the mass adoption of cloud computing set-ups (private, public, hybrid, or multicloud)

For now, only a minority of companies have migrated their entire information system to the cloud. But some recent studies predict that cloud computing will become essential in the coming years.

According to the latest study by Gartner, European corporate spending on IT will reach $1.3 billion in 2023, up 3.7% from the previous year.

As time goes on, more and more of that spending will be directed towards the cloud: experts predict that 45% of corporate IT budgets could be earmarked for cloud computing solutions by 2026 (source: Zippia).

Some years ago, Gartner was already predicting that the cloud would become the default option for rolling out enterprise software—and that prediction is coming true.

This trend is well known to software publishers. Many of them already offer online solutions that pave the way for their clients to gradually move away from on-premises data storage.

In the future, will companies be 100% cloud-based?

Companies bucking that trend may soon find themselves in the minority. Today, many organizations are opting for incremental adoption by migrating their less critical platforms first.

A great many have opted for the public cloud. The website defines the public cloud as follows: “Public Cloud computing services are delivered in a virtual environment, constructed using shared hardware resources, and accessed over a public network.

The public cloud: flexibility for businesses

In the case of the public cloud, the servers and applications are shared. The cloud resources are owned and operated by a third-party service provider. 

The public cloud option has its advantages, especially when it comes to minimizing costs. For the client company, there are no IT infrastructure costs. Nor does the client company need to worry about maintaining the infrastructure, as that is the responsibility of the service provider. 

This type of service allows companies to access processing power that they do not possess with their in-house resources.

Dealing with peaks in activity in the public cloud

Businesses also get great flexibility from the public cloud. It enables them to deal with peaks in activity. 

In a public cloud set-up, client companies can scale the resources allocated to them up or down according to their needs. 

In the study conducted by IT Infosys, business leaders chose a public cloud set-up for its scalability and availability.

The private cloud: opting for security

While some companies are reaping the benefits of the public cloud, many are opting for the private cloud out of concerns relating to security and regulatory compliance. 

The private cloud set-up offers resources and services individual to the client company, not shared. Security is a key aspect of this option.

The company gets the benefit of dedicated servers and hardware security modules, along with an optimal assurance of data confidentiality. No permeability with other clients’ data is possible.

Using dedicated hardware means that the client’s data is not just partitioned by software, but also physically separated.

SecNumCloud and private cloud: the winning combination

In early 2019, Oodrive became the first service provider on the market to obtain a security endorsement from the French Network and Information Security Agency (ANSSI) in the form of the SecNumCloud accreditation (which was renewed in 2022 for a further three years).

Oodrive’s SecNumCloud accredited private cloud service uses dedicated IT infrastructure to ensure authenticated user access, activity analysis in real time, and business recovery for the client.

The hybrid cloud: a combination of private and public cloud set-ups

While companies can be skittish when it comes to putting their data on the public cloud, many have more readily embraced the private cloud as an option that more closely matches how they operate internally. 

But a private cloud set-up is usually more expensive because of the IT infrastructure dedicated to the individual client.

To avoid having to choose between the two, a third option is the hybrid cloud. A growing number of organizations are finding that a hybrid cloud set-up is a good compromise.

However, studies have shown that only one in four organizations currently has the resources needed to manage a hybrid IT environment.

With a hybrid solution, companies get the best of both worlds. They benefit from greater flexibility as well as an infrastructure set-up customized to their needs.

This means they remain in control of their most sensitive data and applications. And as an added benefit, they get the flexibility and availability of the public cloud.

Multicloud: a multiservice approach

The possibility of hosting virtual infrastructure offsite tends to energize IT systems and gives CIOs a broader range of options to choose from.

Over time, this has led to the emergence of a fourth cloud computing option: the multicloud approach, which relies on a variety of cloud services and providers.

The multicloud approach involves subscribing to multiple cloud computing solutions of the same type (exclusively private or public) from different service providers, without interconnecting the various environments.

The multicloud set-up is different from the hybrid cloud because the hybrid cloud amounts to rolling out cloud environments that are separate but interconnected. While all hybrid clouds are multiclouds, not every multicloud is a hybrid cloud!

Some organizations consciously choose the multicloud option, whereas others unintentionally find themselves with such a set-up.

When it is a conscious decision, the idea is to take advantage of separate cloud computing service offers, each with some feature that best serves one of the client company’s particular concerns (control of sensitive data, back-up storage, proximity to the cloud provider to ensure high service availability, etc.).

When it occurs unintentionally, it can be the result of “Shadow IT”, i.e. when tools set up without the knowledge of the IS department become too large and require dedicated control.

In either scenario, a multicloud approach is usually chosen in the interest of optimizing performance and security.

So, private, public, hybrid, or multicloud: which solution is best suited to your needs as a CIO in your company?