- The Internet going down. While you can mitigate this risk by using a commercial grade Internet connection and maintaining a second backup connection, there is a chance that you’ll lose Internet connectivity, making it impossible to work.
- Data security. Many people don’t feel comfortable having their data in some offsite location. This is a valid concern and before you choose any cloud provider, you need to find out more information about where they are storing your data, how it’s encrypted, who has access and how you can get it back. You’ll find more information on this under the “What To Look For When Hiring a Cloud Integrator” later on in this document.
- Certain line-of-business applications won’t work in the cloud. Until recently, the accounting application, QuickBooks, wasn’t compatible with many cloud providers’ platforms. Because QuickBooks requires such high integration with other applications, putting your entire network work in the cloud was impossible. Now QuickBooks is compatible in the Cloud, but there are still many features that are not accessible with the Cloud version. There are other applications that just won’t work in the cloud. Make sure with your cloud provider that ALL of your applications can go to the Cloud.
- Compliance Issues. There are a number of laws and regulations such as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA that require companies to control and protect their data and certify that they have knowledge and control over who can access the data, who sees it and how and where it is stored. In a public cloud environment, this can be a problem. Many cloud providers won’t tell you specifically where your data is stored.
Most cloud providers have SAS 70 certifications which require them to be able to describe exactly what is happening in their environment, how and where the data comes in, what the provider does with it, and what controls are in place over the access to and processing of the data; but as the business owner, it’s YOUR neck on the line if the data is compromised so it’s important that you ask for some type of validation that they are meeting the various compliance regulations on an ongoing basis.