No matter how big or small your business is, the cloud can be a great resource for maximizing your company’s potential. However, alongside advantages such as speed and cross-platform compatibility, cloud computing also entails a number of drawbacks. Before committing your business to adopting the cloud, here are 5 pitfalls that you may need to navigate.

1. Everything is Remote


The most obvious hazard of working through a cloud is that the server is not physically in your office. If something goes wrong, you need to deal with a third party to address the problem. Many of these companies manage servers for multiple businesses, so you will not get their exclusive attention. For instance, Amazon Web Server, one of the largest cloud providers, supports numerous major companies such as Netflix and Pinterest. While servers offer excellent customer service, you should expect a certain amount of waiting for your turn. The benefit is that they have top notch engineering 24×7 to support you and their clients. Office 365 and Google Apps for Work are cloud based email services that have a excellent reputation for uptime and issue resolution.

2. Be Ready for a Possible Mismatch Between Your Company and the Cloud Service’s Structure


By incorporating a third-party cloud service, you are also giving them a say in aspects of how your business operates. Your provider will most likely have its own set of rules and regulations for how the information needs to be encrypted, structured, and secured. This can prove problematic if you’re trying to incorporate your current system with a new set of regulations. For instance, if you have a database that is structured differently than current standards, upgrading to the cloud can prove to be a time-consuming incompatibility issue.

3. Cloud Security is a Complicated Issue


Cloud servers use a variety of security protocols. These may include multiple levels of authorization and different password requirements than what your employees are accustomed to. You also need to keep in mind that the cloud is both more and less secure than having your data stored locally. It’s more secure in the sense that you don’t need to worry about internal theft or environmental hazards wiping out your entire database. It is less secure because these cloud servers are increasingly becoming a target for hackers and viruses. Hackers know that these servers work with major corporations and that there is potential access to valuable personal data. You must think very carefully on what is the safest option for your type of business.

4. Switching to a Cloud Server May be Longer and Harder Than You Expect


Many companies mistakenly believe that transitioning to the cloud is a quick and easy process. However, the switch is more complicated and expensive than you may think. If you have an IT department, you’ll need to make sure they’re fully up-to-date on how the cloud works. This may require that they receive additional training. Alternatively, you can hire a third party to oversee this transitional process for an additional fee. Data loss is another potentially costly issue. A 2013 survey by tech giant Symantec warns that 43 percent of organizations report having lost data stored on a cloud server. The time spent recovering this data from backup files translates to further money lost.

5. The Cloud is Not a Solution for Everyone

Not every business benefits from cloud computing. According to a recent report, only 80% of businesses saw improvement after transitioning to a cloud server. That means one in five did not see a significant benefit. Some businesses are just a poor fit for using the cloud. One example is if your company does a lot of resource-intensive work such as 3D modeling. You may find that working through the cloud is prohibitively slow. Unless you have an extremely fast internet connection, you’ll inevitably experience bandwidth limitations that will interfere with your workflow. Additionally, if you have a small business or one with limited storage requirements, the benefits of the cloud likely won’t outweigh the costs. In some cases, a company may be better off keeping a traditional setup with on-site storage.