Not everyone likely agrees on the definition of cloud computing (“the cloud”). Some contend that cloud computing is nothing new; it is merely applying a marketing term to something that has already been done by technology providers for many years.  

Cloud computing, in general, provides user access to data storage, applications software and/or other technology services through shared configurable resources, but without the user organization (1) necessarily knowing the location or configuration of those resources or (2) having to invest in acquiring, managing, and maintaining its own computing resources. The blog, Hacking Alert, aptly frames the cloud’s fundamental concept: “[i]f you only need milk, would you buy a cow?”  

The use of cloud computing has expanded rapidly, with no end in sight; it is typically less expensive for implementing new computing solutions than traditional methods. The cloud provider may have complete control over the user organization’s servers, software applications and data. In trading control for efficiency, the user organization is faced with a variety of advantages and disadvantages in adopting cloud computing, including:

Click here to see pros and cons table

While this article presents only a treetop view of cloud computing benefits and drawbacks, it gives a glimpse into the myriad issues involved in moving to the cloud. Moreover, with the trend towards adopting cloud computing, user organizations are revisiting their information technology contract language to address the benefits and risks that are attendant to the specific cloud computing arrangement they are seeking to obtain from the cloud provider