Good clouds can make your day. They hover over you, make shade, and then they move on, followed by another cloud and perhaps even better shade. Storm clouds however are a different thing, and lock you down in your car or home while you wait it out, costing you time and money.
In technology, clouds do similar things, and have similar benefits and problems. If you are connected to any computer that’s further away than the distance from your nose to your little pinky, you are likely linked to a faraway device that you can’t see or locate, which is to say, it’s in a cloud. We are connected to clouds all the time, from our cell phone connection to the video streaming service we use to mobile apps that track the weather, our friends, or street where we are. The virtue of good cloud services is that we can engage and disengage them easily, but the problem with bad clouds is that you can’t disengage them without getting all wet. Unfortunately, a perverse incentive for cloud providers is that they want not to give you sunny days, but to soak you, and that’s not a good thing.
The problem is that cloud services do not just do computing for us, they also store our data for us that they use as grist for all that computing, and it is to their interest to make transferring or migrating that data to another service difficult, expensive, or darn near impossible. For example, try to transfer your data from a CRM, accounting or other cloud app to another, and that is about as easy as squeezing water from a mist. So, before you set your data underfoot a cloud solution, make sure that you, and that means your data, can easily step outside its shadow. If not, prepare to have many rainy days.