Is cloud the right choice?

The risk of interrupted access to data can be measured in terms of the amount of computing hardware and software it must pass through. So if the only or main data store and processing is by internet services, the risk to access is much higher. The same can be said of data security. Indeed, by UK law some data must be held with specific constraints that naturally militate against the main principle of the cloud, which is to delegate IT management, reducing IT to a set of benefits and business level decisions. Nonetheless, cloud solutions do present opportunities to do things that were difficult or impossible before, especially in terms of scalability and volatility of resource requirements.
All this raises an important question: Are cloud services a sound choice if more proximate services are an option?
I think the cases where cloud services are the only option are few. I also don’t believe that a substantial cost reduction is possible because of purchasing large amounts of equipment, especially when the costs of running a large organisation are taken into consideration. Locating services in economies with lower costs definitely has price advantages, but at the cost of access time and risk to access and security. I have noticed that where worthwhile cost reductions have been claimed it is often at the expense of IT jobs. As a result either the cloud provider must be adding a similar number of people and hence costs which will eventually return in service prices, or the services offered cannot be as well matched to the specific needs of the business. That standardisation of IT and hence business processes reduces the opportunity for business differentiation.
In the end there is no generic answer to the question. Care must be taken to make the right decision.