Public or private cloud storage? The industry’s growing so quickly, you can have both


A recent survey from cloud storage and data protection hardware provider CTERA Networks found that while employees at more than half of organisations use public file, sync and share services, almost three quarters said they were looking for an alternative.

The report recognised what CTERA highlights as a growing interest and need for enterprise-grade, private cloud storage solutions. Box portrays itself as primarily an enterprise player, most recently announcing a partnership with IBM, while the number of Dropbox business users has recently crept over eight million. Like it or not, these services continue to gain wide adoption.

Rani Osnat, VP strategic marketing at CTERA, told CloudTech there were few surprises in the survey, released earlier in June, but there is room for both public and private. “There are two ways you can look at these results,” he said. “[There] is bigger adoption of SaaS services, but companies view them as more of a temporary solution, and eventually they want to take these solutions in-house.

“The other conclusion you can draw is the market is growing so much there is room for both of these things,” Osnat added. “Companies like Box will continue to grow while private deployments also grow in parallel; these things will live side by side.

“I think there is not one answer that is correct. They are both relevant,” he explains. “We certainly see from our own perspective of the market that when you talk to larger enterprises, especially the ones that are in regulated industries like banking or insurance, or healthcare, they definitely have a strong preference for private cloud solutions. They have the know-how, and they have strict security and compliance requirements that are not entirely satisfied by solutions that utilise a public cloud infrastructure.”

Osnat argues that, while the likes of Box and Dropbox have made a concerted effort at greater security, more still needs to be done. “When you look at cloud in general, and you say ‘I’m going to take my data, I’m going to store it somewhere that’s outside my own data centres’, that already is a big hurdle to cross for many companies.

“What you need to do is wrap enough security around it for that company to feel at least as comfortable with that concept as they do with storing it in-house.”

Regarding key management, the CTERA VP is relatively dismissive: Osnat notes that Box’s solution ‘is much better than not having it’, while describing key management in Dropbox as ‘definitely sufficient for enterprise use.’

“It’s a very touchy issue with enterprises,” he explains. “Some of them will use these services on a departmental level, or some level with strict controls over what type of data can be shared with these services, but at the same time we know they all wish they had something better, and that’s what we’re trying to give then.”