In SaaS We Trust

I was reading an article by Phil Wainewright discussing a currentEconomist debate on cloud computing.  The motion from the Economist is  This house believes that the cloud can’t be entirely trusted.  As of this writing, 36% agree and 64% disagree with the motion.  If you are not familiar with these debates, the Economist provides forums where people can weigh in on important scientific, technology, financial, social and other issues.  It’s rather interesting to follow and anyone can weigh in on the debate.
In this case the debate for the motion is put forth by Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft Business Division.  The debate against is by Marc Benioff, CEO of  Both agree that cloud computing is real and it’s here to stay, but they disagree on whether everything should be in the cloud.
This is nothing new, but it is important, since many people believe that cloud applications and infrastructure are not safe nor to be trusted.  Many naysayers look at cloud computing and SaaS as an all or nothing proposition.  I think this is a mistake.  If I based my belief on the safety of automobiles by the car accident I saw last week, I would never step into a car.  I could say the same about almost anything, from online banking to flying in an airplane.  Yes there are problems.  Yes there are outages.  Yes there are hackers and data breaches.  Show me an on-premise system that does not have the same issues.  But I still bank online and feel perfectly safe doing it.  
Cloud computing is not perfect, nor is on-premise computing.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.  Some applications may never be SaaS, yet thousands are.  My company uses a lot of SaaS applications to run our business: document management, time & billing, collaboration, communication, financial.  I still use Microsoft Office on my PC and iWork on my Mac.  But more and more, I am moving to SaaS and storing information in the cloud.  Just like in my on-premise world, I have backup strategies if things go wrong in the cloud.
I believe that the rewards of lower costs, scaling up and down faster, fewer capital expenditures and the ability to get up and running fast are worth it to me.  Also the advantage to access information from any device and any place is a huge advantage.  Security in the cloud is a legitimate concern and people need to address it, but that doesn’t mean it’s all or nothing.  Look at the risk versus reward and in most cases SaaS and the cloud come out on top for me and my business.
Photo credit Joe Nangle

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