Cloud without a silver lining

Many international IT companies are changing their business model with the aim of selling their software and services using a Cloud Computing model and others are providing server farms to support this strategy. As an example Microsoft are trying to sell us their Cloud based Office 365 service as an alternative to buying copies of Microsoft Office for installation on our office or home computer.
Cloud based services are, in theory, a great idea but they are dependent on the end user having a suitable internet connection to the computers of their service supplier. Here is the major flaw in what should be a perfect solution, the internet connection.
In the UK we generally have a choice between an ‘up to a lot’ megabit Broadband service which often delivers ‘not a lot’ (have you tried broadband in rural areas?) or a solution based on the mobile phone network. The mobile phone network may provide reasonable speeds if you are stationary and in an area with good network coverage but move around and you will find how patchy the coverage really is.
Both types of broadband connectivity are likely to have a poor service level agreement (SLA) so be prepared for you network connection, and therefore your access to your services in the Cloud, to be missing for days at a time if things go wrong. If you have lots of money you could go for a fibre connection with an SLA appropriate for your needs but I suspect the the numbers who are being sold Cloud solutions are lower than those who have appropriate Internet connections.
So, where does that leave us? Good question, but the answer is less easy. In reality we probably have a lot of sellers of Cloud solutions who won’t meet their sales targets, customers who will have to live with enforced multi-day holidays while they wait for their broadband to be fixed and broadband suppliers who will be under increasing pressure to get their act together to supply the service their customers need at a realistic price.
So, before you float off into the Cloud, away from PC based solutions, make sure you have a cunning plan that will stop your business grinding to a halt while you have no broadband connection.