Private cloud storage almost seems like an oxymoron. We’re used to cloud storage meaning everyone crowding onto the same servers and storing their information in the same few places. Private cloud storage is great for a more secure online storage method. Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about cloud storage, and specifically, about the private cloud.

What it does:

Since it’s often easier in tech to describe what something can do for you rather than how it works, this is a good place to start. The basics function exactly like cloud storage: There is an interface supported by the Service Provider that lets users log in to their information or programs from anywhere they have Internet access.

Cloud storage began booming a few years ago as Facebook, Google Docs and other internet storage concepts gained popularity. Critics, though, say that it’s not secure enough for sensitive data.

The Anonymous and LulzSec hackers have proven that cloud storage is indeed vulnerable, especially when it’s a part of a huge network. Private cloud storage offers an added layer of security, and also makes your data less of a large mouth bass in a pond of goldfish.

Who it’s best for:

Everyone from personal data mongerers to small mom and pop business owners to large enterprise clients can benefit from private cloud storage. It makes data accessible on the road, or anywhere that a user ends up. Transitioning from working from home to working at the office is seamless. It makes it possible to support remote and telecommuting employees, which is perfect for today’s dynamic office settings.

Basically, anyone who needs a more secure method to store online data and programs will benefit from utilizing their own private cloud.

How it works:

There is a room, somewhere, with a group of servers that record data. They could hold programs, or they could hold as many Excel spreadsheets as you can dream up. Users pay for the amount of servers they use and have the flexibility to add them as often as needed. They’re connected by software that allows users to save to and access each of the servers as if it were one machine. It also acts a bit like a virtual butler and attempts to clean up after any crashes.

Beyond this single set of machines, there are often backups. In large cloud storage, such as the Google or Amazon servers, the number of machines and the number of backups are closely guarded secrets. Private cloud storage users would know exactly how many backups they’re paying for.

Those servers are connected to individual computers using an internet connection, usually through an interface that requires a password for individual accounts, which brings us back to the user end. From a users’ perspective, a private cloud network is only different from an office network in that it is entirely mobile with Internet access.