Public vs Private Internet - What’s Best for Your Business?
When establishing your business network, there are many considerations to examine. Perhaps the most important of these is whether to create a private network for your team or connect via the public internet.
Several factors play into this decision, but it essentially comes down to your specific business objectives and the needs of your employees. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between public and private networks and the benefits of each option to help you decide what is best for your team.
Public vs Private
A public network can be accessed by anyone at any time, like the internet. Private networks, on the other hand, restrict access to the general public and are typically used to connect private entities such as corporations or schools.
Private networks are dedicated to servicing a single client or business, ensuring that data is secure and only accessible to those connected to the network. The public internet, by contrast, shares connectivity among countless customers and businesses. Although data and applications aren’t visible to other customers, they are more vulnerable to infiltration because they’re stored on a public network.
Now that we’ve established the difference between the two network types, let’s explore the pros and cons of each:
Public internet can be a great option for businesses looking for an easy and affordable network solution. Public networks are suitable for teams performing basic tasks over the internet, such as hosting team meetings, sending emails or conducting internet research. Businesses that do not produce or distribute sensitive data can comfortably use the public internet for their day-to-day operations.
Teams can safely use the public internet as part of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) network or when accessed alongside a VPN to provide a layer of security. For larger companies, private networks are recommended. However, connecting to the public internet in conjunction with other private solutions is a good option to perform basic functions or as a stepping stone towards a more advanced solution.
Many businesses opt to create their own private network for greater security and efficiency. Companies that store and transmit sensitive data like hospitals, defence organisations, or government agencies, need private networks to ensure their information is secure. Private networks are harder to access than public networks, making them much less vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Private networks can be established in several ways, but the most cost-effective and flexible method is to leverage an existing private network layer through a Network as a Service (NaaS) provider.
Setting up a private network through a NaaS provider offers several benefits. The provider is responsible for setting up, protecting and maintaining your network, significantly reducing workloads for individual businesses. Businesses that partner with a NaaS provider don’t have to have to spend money on the infrastructure, hardware or software required to architect a network, and the NaaS provider incurs the cost of any upgrades or troubleshooting that may be required.
Perhaps the greatest drawback to the public internet is its lack of security. Connecting to a public Wi-Fi network is much less secure than a private network because it is unclear who else is connecting to the network or who set it up. This type of network is much easier for hackers to infiltrate and compromise your business data.
Connecting via the public internet can also be more expensive over time than private networks due to the losses incurred during frequent downtime. The public internet offers little protection in terms of disaster recovery or redundancy, meaning that companies are responsible for covering any revenue or data lost during an outage or network disruption.
There are some challenges associated with setting up a private network. The cost of establishing a private network is significantly higher when compared to the public internet. Smaller businesses may not have the capital to invest in a private network or hire a NaaS provider, making the public internet a more viable solution.
Another disadvantage to private networks is that they take time to create. Anyone can connect to a private network instantly, but private networks require time to build, test and launch. If your team requires an immediate connection, you will need to log onto the public internet temporarily or as a long-term solution.
The decision between a public or private network primarily depends on the nature of your business and its objectives. If you’re a smaller company that depends on the internet for low-risk activities, like sending emails, then the public internet is an affordable and convenient solution. However, larger companies or businesses transmitting and storing secure data should establish a private connective for an efficient and ultimately more cost-effective network.
So, which solution is best for your business?
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