In the spirit of Halloween, I was asked to provide a “scary” editorial view for HVAC controls systems engineers. So I picked the scary subject of cloud computing. There has been a great movement to cloud computing and software as a service. These services and applications have their place and are trending to encompass more applications and provide better opportunities for owners. But beware . . . they have a scary side.
Cloud computing applications have their place but they are not the panacea they are made out to be. They are not the one-stop shop and the perfect solution for all services. For the most part they provide a less expensive solution. They offer a canned application that may or may not meet your needs.
Think about the data that is shared. The companies that provide cloud computing services may say it is secure and safe, but this data will be in their system for years. Many of these companies may be bought or go out of business. I don’t think if a business goes bankrupt, the most pressing issue they will have is protecting your data. It will be recovering as much money as they can before the roof caves in.
So if you choose the cloud option, keep in mind that it can be scary (remember, it is Halloween!). The solution is not bad for some applications. If the data you share in the cloud is data that someone could get by other means, or if this data has low vulnerability and the risks are low that releasing it would cause damage, then the cloud may indeed be the best and most cost-effective solution. In fact, in some cases, collecting and storing this data locally and providing similar analytics may not be cost-effective at all, so the cloud creates the only opportunity. Just don’t go down that dark road without knowing the neighborhood.