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Who Shouldn't Use Cloud Computing?

Now let's look at the flip side of the coin. If cloud computing isn't for everyone, who should stay away? Here's the short list:

  • The Internet-impaired. Cloud computing is based on the Internet cloud and depends on Internet access. If you don't have Internet access, you're out of luck. Users without readily available Internet access simply shouldn't consider a switch to cloud-based computing. The same rule applies if you have slow Internet access, like that found with dial-up Internet connections; a slow connection isn't much better than none at all when accessing big apps and docs on the Web.
  • Offline workers. Along the same lines, anyone who consistently works offline in an environment that's not Internet-enabled probably isn't the ideal candidate for cloud computing. That leaves out those people who work out of a vehicle, at a home or office without Internet access, or while traveling from office to office without guarantee of an Internet connection. No Internet, no cloud computing—it's that simple.
  • The security-conscious. Today, we think that cloud computing is safe—but we can't guarantee it. It's certainly possible that cloud systems can be hacked and cloud-based documents accessed by unauthorized users. If your documents require confidentiality, you probably don't want to trust them to cloud computing just yet. When security matters, don't take chances.
  • Anyone married to existing applications. This is probably the most important reason not to sign up for a web-based application: You use Microsoft Office. That's right, many web-based applications are not completely compatible with Microsoft's file formats. It may be difficult or even impossible to open your Word or Excel documents with your web-based apps—and vice versa.

Is cloud computing for you? Look at all the facts—and then give it a try before you decide.

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