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The widespread use of the cloud has resulted in multi-clouds, hybrid clouds, and other cloud-based strategies. One of these strategies was the emergence of the virtual private cloud (VPC), which is a private cloud contained within a public cloud. It allows customers to do everything they would do in a private cloud, like host websites, run code, and store data. The difference is that the cloud is hosted by a remote public cloud provider. 

Using a VPC enables organizations to control and define their virtual network, which is isolated from the other tenants of the public cloud. This provides them with a private and secure location—their own piece of the cloud.

Features of a VPC

One of the key benefits of using a VPC is that it gives organizations the functionality of their own private cloud, with all of the features that come with a public cloud. This allows organizations to reap the benefits of a public cloud.

Availability

A VPC provides fault-tolerant availability zone architectures and redundancy. This decreases downtime and keeps an organization’s workloads and applications highly available.

Agility

A VPC enables organizations to fully control their virtual network size and allows them to deploy cloud resources as needed. Businesses can also scale their resources in real time.

Security

A VPC may be within a public cloud, but it is a logically isolated network, which means that a business’s applications and data will not be combined with that of other clients. This provides businesses with complete control over who accesses workloads and resources.

Affordability

Since VPC clients can take full advantage of a public cloud’s cost-effectiveness, users will save money on labor, hardware, and other cloud resources. Additionally, the cloud provider is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the software and the physical servers.

What Are the Advantages of Using a VPC?

VPCs allow businesses to take advantage of various cloud-computing benefits but without the concerns around privacy, security, and less control over data. Data that passes through the VPC remains within the client’s control and does not cross the internet. There is also greater flexibility in designing cloud architecture that meets the needs of each organization. 

The functionality of a VPC provides many additional benefits for businesses, including: 

Reduced Risk Across the Data Life Cycle

A VPC provides greater security at the subnet and instance level. This ability increases the trust of clients and assures them that their data is safe. 

Satisfied Customers

A business’s customers expect uptime all the time. Anything less can threaten business relationships, cause businesses to lose customers, and gain a bad reputation that could cost them future customers. VPCs mitigate these risks by providing a reliable online experience due to the high availability of environments. This keeps an organization's customers happy and ensures that the business can continue to build customer trust.

Flexible Business Growth

Businesses are not static, and they need a solution that will grow with them to meet their future business needs. A VPC is easily adaptable to meet changing business needs and is scalable to meet the future needs of a business. Cloud infrastructure resources are deployed dynamically, so they are flexible enough to meet the requirements of a growing business and expand as necessary. 

More Focus on Business Innovation

VPCs mean fewer demands on an organization’s IT team. This frees up IT resources to focus on other activities that are critical to meeting business goals and in allowing organizations to remain innovative and ahead of the competition.

VPC Architecture

VPC provides a secure and flexible architecture that will help mitigate risks due to misconfiguration and enable customers to expand cloud deployments. Capabilities of VPC architecture include:

Compute

VPCs enable businesses to launch replacement compute capacity to ensure business continuity after a disaster. Compute capacity can also be added to the network by connecting the corporate network to the VPC.

Storage

Customers are given a block storage limit for each account, along with the ability to purchase more as needed. Amazon VPC provides block-level storage volumes. Each volume is replicated within the Availability Zone to protect users from component failure. Storage recommendations will be based on the organization’s workload. 

Networking

The VPC provides complete control over a business's virtual networking environment. This includes creating VPC subnets and IP address range selection. 

Layers of VPC Security

VPCs provide users with a high level of security. This is done through virtualized replicas of security features that are used to control access to resources in traditional data centers. The VPC's security features allow clients to define their virtual networks within logically isolated parts of a public cloud. 

VPC security consists of two types of network access controls:

Access Control Lists (ACLs)

Network access control lists (ACLs) are rules that limit who is able to access a certain subnet within the business VPC. They provide an extra layer of VPC security by acting as a firewall for controlling the traffic that flows in and out of subnets.

Security Group

Groups of resources can be created with security groups, and they can be assigned uniform access rules.

VPC vs. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A virtual private network (VPN) enables users to conduct online activities privately and securely. A VPN makes a private network accessible through a public infrastructure, like the internet. It enables users to share data across public or shared networks and works as though it is linked directly to a private network. It connects to a virtual network to enable efficient data flow without the costs of a physical network. 

VPN software can be hosted on a VPC—for example, in Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2.

VPC vs. Private Cloud

VPCs differ from private clouds because a private cloud is completely dedicated to a single business. The private cloud provider is responsible for everything, including the cloud infrastructure, the software installation, and a dedicated IT team. 

A private cloud is a single-tenant solution. This means it is only offered to a single organization. A private cloud provides organizations with privacy by housing their data in a dedicated space, completely separated from other businesses. Users can make changes to their dedicated cloud without affecting other companies. 

Some of the benefits of using a VPC rather than a private cloud include:

Better Performance

Applications and websites that are hosted in the cloud typically perform better than those that are hosted on-premises.

Greater Security

Cloud providers that offer VPCs have the resources necessary to maintain and update their infrastructure. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses. 

Scalability

A public cloud provider hosts the VPC, which means clients can add computing resources as needed. The VPC will grow to meet your business's needs as your business grows.

VPC vs. Public Cloud

A VPC, like a public cloud, uses a shared infrastructure, but it provides a layer of isolation for the cloud customers that are sharing these resources. A VPC provides organizations with the benefits of a private cloud but with the resources and cost savings of the public cloud.  

In a public cloud, an organization is part of a shared infrastructure—for example, AWS. The AWS public cloud provides fast deployment, efficient use of resources, and reduced costs. The public cloud can host millions of customers in the same virtual and physical infrastructure. 

Although there is segmentation between customers, there is also sharing at all levels. This means there are often security concerns in public cloud solutions. A public cloud can result in a new attack surface that can let in millions of threats without proper protection. This is where a VPC comes in.

Virtual Private Cloud by Fortinet

The Fortinet next-generation firewall (NGFW) helps prevent the threats that a business's AWS deployment may be exposed to. It provides the highest security compute rating and the ability to effectively manage external and internal security risks and move securely to the cloud, without slowing down the business. The Fortinet AWS transit VPC supports businesses with compute and storage infrastructures across AWS VPCs and on-premises data centers. With Fortinet, businesses can interconnect their distributed workloads and protect their environments with the advanced security that the Fortinet Security Fabric provides. 

Organizations can use the Fortinet VPC transit solution integrated with the AWS transit gateway for hybrid cloud deployments, cloud-only deployments, east-west traffic inspection, and more. VPC with FortiGate provides users with the benefits of the Fortinet NGFW, increasing business agility in cloud deployments.  

Contact us to learn more about the Fortinet VPC solutions and how they can help you secure your data in the cloud.