The Dark Clouds of Cloud Computing

The Cloud offers a great many benefits; however depending on your company’s needs, these benefits may cost your company more than any cost savings or new features. So before saying yes please consider the following.

Buying cloud service means more demand for bandwidth. For many this is hidden cost. As telecommunication companies roll these products out to their sales representatives they point out that these new services will cause an immediate demand for more bandwidth and of course they know just the place you can buy that bandwidth. I have always thought of bandwidth as being a form of a legalized drug, what was enough yesterday will not meet your needs tomorrow. Cloud computing will increase these needs so, before you jump into a new cloud computing contract based on the savings your company is about to get be sure to look at the additional bandwidth costs and demands.

All cloud providers are not equal. Late last year I was invited to tour a cloud provider’s facility in another state. The facility looked secure and the equipment itself was state of the art. However looking up at the ceiling the fire suppression system was a sprinkler system. If they have a fire all the equipment and their customer’s data would be destroyed. Any cloud provider that does not replicate the data to another geographic diverse location is a big risk to the data you are trying to keep secure.

Your cloud service can only be as good as your connection to the cloud. If you have an unreliable source of bandwidth you may be better off skipping this new cloud thing. Cable service and DSL are services that are shared with other users. Your available bandwidth maybe affected by something as simple as a snow day that leaves kids at home on the Internet rather than in school. If you choose to go the cloud route you may want to consider additional bandwidth from a secondary source to keep your business up and running.

All networks are oversubscribed. This is an ugly truth that can affect your ability to access your data.  Voice and data networks are engineered on mathematical probabilities. For example; if a carrier determines that their overall customers are only using 50% of the bandwidth then the carrier will engineer the network at that 50% level. That’s not an issue until there is a regional or worldwide event makes the probability calculations irrelevant. Add to this all the discussions going on in our government about an ‘Internet kill switch’ and you have a recipe for a very unproductive day or days for your business.

There are many great benefits that the cloud may bring to your business.  We are not saying to avoid cloud services. What we are saying is to be aware of the up and the downside of these offerings.