Five Things to Consider Before Embracing the Cloud
Cost - In general, cloud servers can save a company money, especially when there are short-term bursts of online popularity, since the cloud will scale to handle the traffic surge and the company won't have to worry about purchasing and installing new servers. Even better, it's done automatically.
The downside of that scaling is many business owners fail to track it — and hackers can easily cause your bills to spike without your knowing it. Something as basic as a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack may not take your site down, but it does keep servers busy, which causes bills to soar, since costs are typically tied to usage.
(Read more: Are Two Cloud Servers Better Than One?)
"Think of it as a utility," said Bruce MacFadyen, COO of FireHost. "Customers pay for a certain amount of space and storage — but if they have additional processor usage, they do (pay more). They typically can scale back down. … (One provider, however) allowed clients to scale up, but once you had scaled up, you couldn't scale back down. That's not the promise of the cloud. You should have an environment that lets you scale up and down."
Moves – Every company switches vendors from time to time. But the more data you've got in the cloud, the more complicated that becomes.
Whether you're changing cloud providers or simply platforms (such as a move from PC to Mac), that transfer can consume bandwidth (potentially running up your bill) and, depending on how much you have stored in the cloud, can be extremely time consuming.
"It's very affordable to put things in a cloud storage facility, but if you want to move, it's very expensive," said Schmidt. "It's essentially holding your data hostage. Once you've got 20 TB of stuff on someone's machine, it can get very expensive. When you have a lot of data on one hosting service and elect to move it to another one, sometimes it might be worth flying someone to the data center to fill up a bunch of hard drives and fly them to the new one. That's the kind of [contortion] that sometimes happens when you make a change."