5 ways cloud computing can backfire

Many businesses have moved to the cloud to save money. But are some of them actually paying more than before?

The cloud certainly has its benefits in many cases. When a cloud strategy is properly deployed, businesses can save money while using a scalable, reliable service.

But the cloud certainly isn’t the right answer in every situation. Here are some of the reasons IT should think twice before moving to the cloud:

  1. Cost — Though cost cutting is one of the primary reasons companies switch to the cloud, the strategy can sometimes backfire. As reported in a recent ComputerWorld article, some businesses find unexpected costs after they switch to the cloud. Experts’ recommendation: If using a cloud service for six months costs the same as owning physical hardware, it’s time to switch.
  2. Security — Security’s already been a big concern for IT departments that are considering a move to the cloud, and this new survey probably won’t make them feel any better: Nearly half of businesses using cloud services have had security problems in the past year, according to the poll of 1,200 IT decision-makers by Trend Micro.
  3. Downtime — Cloud providers typically guarantee 99% uptime for their services. That sounds impressive, but keep in mind that the other 1% equates to about 7.5 hours a month.
  4. Stability — Since cloud computing is a relatively new area, many new providers, including new divisions of preexisting companies, have appeared — and there’s no guarantee they’ll all be around forever. That’s why companies must find out what will happen to their data if a cloud provider goes under.
  5. Legal concerns — Certain types of data (medical information, for instance) are required by law to be stored in certain ways, which could make cloud computing off-limits for certain applications.

That doesn’t mean businesses should avoid the cloud altogether — just that the companies with carefully planned cloud strategies will be the ones that see the greatest benefits.

Some experts recommend businesses steer clear of the cloud for mission-critical data and applications, and that they carefully study service contracts before working with any cloud provider.

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