Anyone using Hootsuite, Reddit or Foursquare today…well actually they wouldn’t be using it as Amazon’s EC2 Cloud computing system was down.
Cloud computing is a great for keeping costs down – a virtual ‘pay-as-you-go’ server system where you can scale up or down depening on the volume of business you are doing. By sharing servers and services with other companies, you don’t have to pay for hardware or staff.
The negative side is that if it goes down (which thankfully is very rarely) you are possibly left with nothing and in someone else’s hands. Potentially even worse would be the company goes under and with them goes all your work.
One way to look at it would be comparing it with email – Webmail v PC based such as MS Outlook. With a webmail version everything is done online so you can get to it from pretty much anywhere. The problem is that if it goes down, potentially you have nothing.
With a PC based system, whilst you may not be able to send or receive emails, you can at least access the ones already sent / received.
Costs do come into it – Cloud computing allows you to pay per month instead of a potentially large initial outlay on hardware and they will do backups for you. However, it is worth setting aside some of the cost and setup a system to cover for a worse case scenario. Just in case.