We've recently had the opportunity to start working with clients more and more on "cloud" based solutions for small businesses. What we've learned is that choosing the right cloud-based provider makes ALL the difference to success or failure. We've also learned that choosing the right SUPPORT company also makes the difference.
The idea that "cloud" based solutions are simple, easy, and cheap is so completely out of perspective to what reality is, that many companies find themselves signing up for multiple solutions, but then very easily lose site of efficiency. Almost like the clouds obscure our view of the skies.
Years ago when I first heard the "cloud" expression, I realized that it was simply a marketing term, almost meant to mislead and confuse business owners and decision makers. The promise of a simplified infrastructure, managed elsewhere, almost seems too good to be true. Many companies fell in to the marketing pitfalls of "cloudy thinking" and have come to realize that although they might be saving up-front costs on hardware and infrastructure, they still need efficient and adequate support PEOPLE to maintain, organize, protect, and migrate cloud-based solutions.
In fact, recent projects that we were involved in would have completely destroyed a small business that found themselves lost in the clouds with little to no idea of what was where, why, and how much they were spending for things that weren't even working for them. Without our help, and understanding of their business model, they would have lost clients/customers, lost business, and had to downsize their company, if not close the doors altogether.
Yes, some cloud-based solutions work. There are also new technologies that are extremely vital to small and big companies that are solely based on "cloud" models... but in the end, you still need to have support, and your solutions still need to be maintained, managed, and administered to make sure you are using the right solution, and not losing money, or your business!