There is a great deal about how cost effective cloud computing is, ideally it should be, as you no longer have the same infrastructure costs or energy usage, but it isn't fair to just market the advantages of such a solution - without the disadvantages so that is where I step in with hopefully a more balanced picture.

These are some of the key advantages which are attracting individuals/businesses to buy into a cloud solution

  1. Your data can be accessed anywhere at any time
  2. Energy costs will be lower as there is less hardware to maintain and run.
  3. Data is located 'off premises' which is ideal for disaster recovery
  4. It is adaptive and scalable - there is no need for trying to figure what requirements you have and you can pay as you use and expand.

The disadvantages that I am aware of are:

  1. Any cloud solution is 100% dependent on your internet connection being fast and reliable. If your connection is slow or down, you will not be able to access your data.
  2. Your data is in someone else's hands (it is hard to know who has access to this information and how trustworthy the provider and their staff are).
  3. Your cloud service provider may only provide their own data formats, which may not be compatible with formats you currently use.
  4. On a price by price comparison over a period the cloud can be more expensive.
  5. There is no specific protocol to ensure a consistent standard across cloud providers.

Most people are sold on the idea that cloud experience will be a 'like for like' replication of their physical hardware, which, is a wholly reasonable expectation, but realistically, network connections fail, bottle necks make the system slow and some cloud platforms may not support certain software installations you use and still need. Sadly the one thing in which the cloud solution and physical hardware do compare is the overall cost.  The cloud alternative can cost just as much (if not more) in the long term than owning your own equipment, which is measured over a three year life span - which does not make sense.

It isn't a big ask to expect the cloud provision to be reliable and secure, but the cloud provision is hugely dependent on 'your' network connection providers, a provision not even within their control.  All internet users know connections are still being hampered by things such as loss of speed (due to demand) or total connection loss which can sometimes be for an unknown period of time.  Security breaches on locally held machines, are largely from the internet, therefore, data held in the cloud is at more risk than being held locally, even some of the large providers have suffered recent security breaches.  These factors alone can damage a company permanently, therefore, until such issues are ironed out with some degree of confidence, cloud computing needs to be given more consideration than just what appears a very attractive pay per hour cost saving.