Hey you – get off my cloud!

There’s been a bunch of talk recently about “cloud computing” and how it will revolutionize small-to-medium businesses. The prospect of really cheap, always “On” services that will enable small businesses to back-up their hard drives, access high-end software and compete with their bigger rivals sounds fantastically appealing. Cloud computingHowever cloud computing has its detractors – some of them very well respected in the on-line world (read a pros vs. cons argument here and a very strong anti-cloud rant here).

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Remember that no on-line service has EVER been up and accessible 100% of the time and what if yours is down at the time you need it most?
  • Where exactly is the cloud? If its US-based then chances are you could always locate the physical address if you had to, but if its off-shore then all bets are off.
  • How secure is the cloud? Cloud back-up services claim amazing security measures but how can you be really sure?

As in most things moderation is essential. Use cloud computing as a component in your overall computing strategy as there are obviously some great tools out there (Google Docs, Flickr, Carbonite) but don’t start relying on services and cloud-stored data for all of your critical day-to-day operations – until its better proven that they’ll be there for you 100% of the time.

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