2014-25-April-Pop-Quiz.jpgPop quiz time.

Take out your #2 pencil and select the best answer that completes the following sentence.

Cloud services will revolutionize ______________.

  • A. the way software gets delivered.
  • B. the way software is licensed, by becoming a "pay as you go" option.
  • C. the way workers access services.
  • D. IT implementation, support and infrastructure costs.
  • E. the way business gets done, by letting mobile workers access information anytime, anywhere.
  • F. All of the above.

Unless you have been hiding out in a fallout shelter for the last five years, you probably picked “F. All of the above.” And if you did, you would be correct.

But the potential of the cloud is even bigger, because the cloud can empower organizations to "mix and match" the most suitable services for their needs from a broad range of suppliers, while departments and individuals can fill in the gaps by subscribing to their own specialized cloud services. In fact, this is already happening.

A September 2013 uSamp market survey found that 41 percent of workers had subscribed to document cloud storage services within the last six months -- without the approval of their organization’s IT departments -- despite the fact that the organization already had a document storage solution. In the world of the cloud, all you need is a credit card and you’re in business.

Sounds great, but let’s take a closer look.

Caveat Nimbus

An old adage says that “if it’s too good to be true, then it is,” so let’s read the fine print. Because while the cloud will solve many problems, it will also create new ones. These problems will affect organizations, workers and society. Seeing the whole picture will help you weigh the pros and cons, so you can make the right decision ... before it’s too late.

When moving to the cloud, you should weigh the following considerations: user experience, information overload, freedom of vendor choice and data leakage/privacy risks. Let’s examine each one of these in turn:

User Experience

The number of active apps you will need to use increases in direct proportion to the number of available cloud services. For example, you may use one app to upload or download a document in Box, another to search for contact information in Salesforce and a third to send an instant message to a colleague using Lync/Office 365. This simplicity is intentional.