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Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

There are a number of reasons why you might not want to adopt cloud computing for your particular needs. Let's examine a few of the risks related to cloud computing:

  • Requires a constant Internet connection. Cloud computing is impossible if you can't connect to the Internet. Since you use the Internet to connect to both your applications and documents, if you don't have an Internet connection you can't access anything, even your own documents. A dead Internet connection means no work, period—and, in areas where Internet connections are few or inherently unreliable, this could be a deal-breaker. When you're offline, cloud computing simply doesn't work.
  • Doesn't work well with low-speed connections. Similarly, a low-speed Internet connection, such as that found with dial-up services, makes cloud computing painful at best and often impossible. Web-based apps require a lot of bandwidth to download, as do large documents. If you're laboring with a low-speed dial-up connection, it might take seemingly forever just to change from page to page in a document, let alone to launch a feature-rich cloud service. In other words, cloud computing isn't for the broadband-impaired.
  • Can be slow. Even on a fast connection, web-based applications can sometimes be slower than accessing a similar software program on your desktop PC. Everything about the program, from the interface to the current document, has to be sent back and forth from your computer to the computers in the cloud. If the cloud servers happen to be backed up at that moment, or if the Internet is having a slow day, you won't get the instantaneous access you might expect from desktop apps.
  • Features might be limited. This situation is bound to change, but today many web-based applications simply aren't as full-featured as their desktop-based brethren. For example, you can do a lot more with Microsoft PowerPoint than with Google Presentation's web-based offering. The basics are similar, but the cloud application lacks many of PowerPoint's advanced features. If you're a power user, you might not want to leap into cloud computing just yet.
  • Stored data might not be secure. With cloud computing, all your data is stored on the cloud. How secure is the cloud? Can unauthorized users gain access to your confidential data? Cloud computing companies say that data is secure, but it's too early in the game to be completely sure of that. Only time will tell if your data is secure in the cloud.
  • Stored data can be lost. Theoretically, data stored in the cloud is unusually safe, replicated across multiple machines. But on the off chance that your data goes missing, you have no physical or local backup. (Unless you methodically download all your cloud documents to your own desktop—which few users do.) Put simply, relying on the cloud puts you at risk if the cloud lets you down.
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