Cloud Advantages and Disadvantages

A particular piece of software can appear to be a cheaper option on the cloud, compared to the same software run in-house. But is it the same? It might be a stripped down version, missing some features. Do you need all the features; maybe the stripped down version is better for you, or maybe something is missing. Is it an updated an improved version, but incompatible with the other software that you have on your own system. If you buy into somebody else’s cloud there tends to be compatibility between the different systems there (tends to be, not always though); but it may not be compatible with some package you have in house. Even moving text from a movie-script to a word package can result in pages of unformatted sentences – no paragraph breaks, no spaces, just one long lump of words. And that is a minor example.
Inflexibility. This need not be too much of an issue if you understand your own requirements in advance. There are so many cloud possibilities that you should be able to find one that suits your business needs. Else, you can have a private cloud that is set up the way you want. Transferring all your old files will be an issue, but remember that you are making a major upgrade, and that major upgrades are a step ahead and essential lest you be left behind. Your previous system is soon to be an obsolete system. Being locked into a system is an issue, however. The solution is a combination of flexibility and being locked into a system that works well.
Security issues. These receive a huge amount of publicity. Probably less common that the media might have us believe, but truly disastrous when they do occur. There is an advantage here that smaller businesses have with the cloud; the cloud provider can provide more security for a group of small companies than a single company could afford on their own. And if your company has a system on the net at all (even pre-cloud) is has some security concerns. Watch for situations where information is moved automatically. The celebrity cloud photo hacks seemed to be of photos that were automatically backed up to the cloud. If it was never on the cloud in the first place it is far less likely to be leaked. Also remember, you may have to convince your clients that the cloud is secure and not just yourself.
Possible downtime. Not a regular occurrence, but it is a fact of life. Can you afford to be offline for long? Can at least some downtime be scheduled in advance? There should be regular maintenance. Look for systems with redundancy that let you access data all the time; they run at least two systems concurrently and let one update the other. Also look for a minimal downtime guarantee.