Here’s a reality check for you: don’t be fooled by everything you read during this Cloud Computing hype. It’s like Chinese whispers in the technology world. The Cloud is still one of those popular buzz words somebody created to explain a whole world of complex IT infrastructure. It is really just a metaphor for the internet, a fuzzy grey area that people cannot entirely explain easily yet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulonimbus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.

Nonetheless, it is easy to get drawn in to mythical facts and broad statements posted over the web as you try to grasp some kind of understanding about what the Cloud is and isn’t. The truth is the Cloud is still a huge learning curve for even the most intelligent of IT experts. As we slowly discover more benefits, as well as the negatives, of Cloud computing, it is important to keep an open mind and digest all the information with a pinch of salt so that we do not get too carried away in believing ‘facts’ that sometimes end up evolving in to myths over time.

To try and help keep you on the right track and iron out some of the creases, here are three classic misconceptions about the Cloud:

1. It is always cheaper

Many factors come in to play when trying to evaluate the cost of Cloud adoption such as network and bandwidth requirements, special hardware needs, the Cloud service and application that are being considered, and, of course, what you’re comparing the Cloud to on the other side. Taking the latter comment, in some cases instead of a one-off perpetual license and a 15-25% annual support cost, with Cloud computing you will have an annual charge. At some point the accrued cloud cost must be more than the upfront perpetual cost and annual maintenance. The cost of the infrastructure is also factored into the cloud licensing cost. This may or may not be cheaper than the cost for the client providing an infrastructure. Therefore it is not a true or reliable fact that Cloud computing is always cheaper.

2. The Cloud is just a fad

The concepts and technologies behind the ‘Cloud’ have been evolving for years. The term may be new, but there is no denying that cloud computing has emerged as a game-changing technology, with high adoption rates and investment. According to Gartner, it is estimated that Cloud Computing will be valued at $240 billion by 2020 and that the bulk of new IT spending by 2016 will be for cloud computing platforms and applications with nearly half of large enterprises having cloud deployments by the end of 2017. This goes to show that the Cloud is definitely not just a fad.

3. My data won’t be secure in the Cloud

Many people are still wary of Cloud safety and are reluctant to store their data in the Cloud, relying on physical storage devices like portable USB drives, CD’s, and hard drives. Even some business leaders are choosing physical data-centers with which they’re already familiar, rather than migrating their data-centers to the Cloud. Stored data on-premise still has more inherent risks (fire, water damage, theft, tampering, temperature etc) than Cloud. Being able to see and touch your data doesn’t make it safe. Consumers and businesses should see an increase in emerging regulations over the next few years to strengthen the safety of the Cloud even further.

Although very realistic, this may seem like a somewhat cynical post, so to leave on a more positive note, here is a piece of advice: There is really only one compelling reason for implementing cloud computing: a business reason. The new application will either drive up sales or drive down operational costs. Ideally both. So don’t get carried away with the generalizations around the latest buzz word, but concentrate on evaluating your business processes and IF or HOW the Cloud really can enhance them.