Cloud computing is a much bandied about term for storing your data somewhere other than on your local computer or a hired server.
There are issues about his that should be a concern for businesses. With the concept of cloud, your data is stored somewhere, but we are never sure quite where. With cloud, we can be assured that it is under the control of "a business" (your C.S.P. Cloud Service Provider). However, can we be sure that your C.S.P. will allow us enough in the way of control?
Having any business online is fine. But, it would be a concern, both to me as a business person and my financiers, if you have a business online and are storing your data "somewhere", in a cloud. Where exactly it is you are not sure of.
With this lack of "actual control", "your business" is in fact in someone else’s hands. This is what many would consider not to be a viable business. You don’t actually have control of anything. Your data and some might say your head is in the "cloud".
Yes to a point, this is the case for any server space that you hire. But, when you hire a server, giving you root access and control over its configuration, you have far less to worry about. That is, if you have the technical knowledge or staff with said in house. If the prices for a hired server goes up too high, you move somewhere else. Simple.
The functionality offered by C.S.P.’s "Cloud Service Providers" is vast. From online purchasing systems to simple email and messaging functions. With all the functionality that is on show "in the cloud", it would seem all you have is a front end to play with. This front end seems proprietary. It is under the control of a single firm that have a lot of control over the interface. They can change it as they desire and you have no say in it.
They can also put prices up as they desire. The cost of moving and the cost / time involved in teaching yourself and all your employees a new front end to a new service provider would be high. This is in fact the cost of your total reliance on you C.S.P.
If you can imagine, I see it like renting a managed pub instead of owning one. Yes, you can make a success of the pub. But, the landlords (usually a brewery) can see that you are making good profits. The usual response is to get a good slice of these profits. They put up the rent and costs of your stock. If you are the landlord, rather than a manager, you can make the money and keep it.
So, to my mind it seems cloud takes a slice of your profits and could be in a position to demand more as and when they see fit. It could be considered as giving control of your business to outside contractors. In the long term, this is not what I would consider good business practice. I think it would be worth weighing up the cost of renting your own servers and staff to run it before you consider cloud.
Cloud supplies are not there to serve the common good. They are businesses and want to make money out of you.