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A public cloud is

one in which the cloud infrastructure and computing resources are made available to the general public over a public network. A public cloud is owned by an organization selling cloud services, and serves a diverse pool of clients.[1]
[t]he cloud infrastructure . . . provisioned for open use by the general public. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, or government organization, or some combination of them. It exists on the premises of the CSP and/or its suppliers.[2]


Public cloud computing represents a significant paradigm shift from the conventional norms of an organizational data center to a deperimeterized infrastructure open to use by potential adversaries.[3] The Figure below presents a simple view of a public cloud and its customers.

[In p]ublic clouds . . . services are offered to individuals and organisations who want to retain elasticity and accountability without absorbing the full costs of in-house infrastructures. Public cloud users are by default treated as untrustworthy.[4]


Public Cloud


  1. NIST Special Publication 500-292, at 10.
  2. Cloud Service Level Agreement Standardisation Guidelines, at 13.
  3. NIST Special Publication 800-144, at v1.
  4. The Cloud: Understanding the Security, Privacy and Trust Challenges, at x.


See also[]