In a previous post, the idea of the Cloud Office was introduced. In this, the second of our three posts regarding Cloud Computing , we will take a closer look at the potential pitfalls of having your information stored not on a local drive, but in the vast expanse of the Cloud.
- Limited Customization – The entity hosting your information may have a standardized way of organizing your information / folder structures, and it may not be YOUR way.
- The host controls your data – You are at the mercy of the host as it relates to scheduled backups and security updates. While we’ve all hit the “Install Updates Later” button on our local PC’s, the host may run updates and backups when it is convenient for THEM, not necessarily for YOU. This may be especially true if the host is overseas or in a substantially different time zone.
- If the power goes out for some reason, snowstorm, earthquake, lightning strike, you may be able to continue working if your information is on a local server/LAN. If you rely on the internet to access your information, and the internet is offline for some period of time, your data may be inaccessible.
- The “Cloud Office” may not be viable for rural companies with limited internet options or smaller bandwidth capabilities.
- If your company’s internet connection does not support a Bandwidth supportive of your company’s needs, there may be complications, including but not limited to
- Latency or lag time accessing information (slow response time)
- May be impractical for uploading/downloading larger files
- If the host company goes out of business, your data may be lost if there is no plan of action to transfer that data to another company or to your company to look for a new host.
- Some business owners/operators may cringe at the notion that sensitive data, perhaps including trade secrets or confidential documents, are not locked up on company premises but are floating somewhere in a cloud. There have been cases where online hosting services have lost supposedly secure data.
- Some users may wonder about compatibility and security, especially when sharing files with other companies and whether cloud solutions really have as many features and functions as on-premises programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. For example, an Excel power user who has built a lot of macros and has a high number of cells with built in complicated formulas will find a drop-off in the functionality of those complex macros when switching to cloud-based spreadsheets.
- Integrating cloud-based products with a company’s industry-specific programs/applications may prove problematic, but the expectation by “Cloud” supporters is that applications of all kinds (industry specific and ‘generic’ programs alike) will migrate to the cloud in the future, as vendors focus on how to make them work seamlessly together.
- Adoption and training of employees who may be resistant to change and insist on doing things the ‘old way’, such as emailing the file back and forth continually revising the naming convention rather than communally collaborating on a file. Part of this would involve changing the processes and work flows that have been in place for many a year. Working on the same file simultaneously — a much more efficient and effective way to collaborate – is one of the main benefits of the “Cloud”.
The future third installment will focus on the plus side of the Cloud features