10 Disadvantages of Using Cloud Software to Power Your Business

What are some of the cons of using cloud software like Google Apps to power your business operations?


The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Rough Internet

I love cloud apps, and the majority of our business lives in the cloud. However, when you heavily rely on cloud-based apps, any outage in reliable Internet brings you down to a screeching halt. Poor hotel WiFi, airport WiFi or regular outages can add quite a bit of headaches to the equation when you live in the cloud.
Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

2. Old Versions of Documents

Even if the version in the cloud is updated and accurate, some employees will always use the old version because it’s conveniently on their hard drive. It also becomes an issue if past employees have access after leaving the company.
Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

3. International Access

Sometimes some of the apps don’t work when traveling all over the world or in places, such as China, given the censorship and delicate political issues with China and Google. We use VPN access just to be able to function, and if it wasn’t for that, we would have to find another alternative that is more costly and probably not as effective.
Derek Capo, Next Step China

4. Email Lockouts

Google has a strange policy for how many emails you can send and data you can download and upload. I’ve had Google lock me out of my email for a day without there being anything I could do; there isn’t anyone you can call or email at Google, so you’re stuck waiting until they decide to unlock your account. It has happened three times and has seriously caused me to question Google’s dependability.
Enrico Palmerino, SmartBooks

5. Unpredictable Service

You can’t predict how Google will change their services, but you can count on them slowly removing the ways you do business. These services are not free. We started out with Gmail before there was a limit to accounts on our brand. We have more than 100 users, but anyone doing this today will be capped. Basically, they offer services and then take them away to make people pay for premium service.
Ty Morse, Songwhale

6. User Restrictions

We use Google Apps for business, and I love it. However, I have to keep in mind that when I send attachments as a Google Doc and the user does not have a Google Docs account, they cannot open my attachment.
Alex Chamberlain, EZFingerPrints

7. Data Encryption

Although cloud-based software is convenient for your business operations, there can be security risks, especially for those providers that do not encrypt data.
Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

8. Customer Support

Customer support is extremely hard to reach, especially if you’re not a big account with them. When issues arise and you need an answer, they’re not always there to offer support. Google’s self-service model is effective, but it puts a lot on the shoulders of the users to figure it out on their own.
Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

9. Spreadsheet Limits

As a former management consultant, I believe that there is no tool like Microsoft Excel. At Modify, we use Google Apps for nearly everything because the products are an amazing collaboration suite. Still, the spreadsheet product just isn’t robust enough for a detailed analysis. When we need to engage on different projections or analyses, we always start with Excel.
Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

10. User-friendliness Issues

Even though using Google Apps and keeping everything in the cloud is second nature to me and my team, our clients aren’t always in the same boat. Something as simple as sharing a Google Doc can actually become a bit of a frustration for our clients and creates more work overall. Understanding that your clients may need some guidance is key when moving to this platform for your business.
Erin Blaskie, Erin Blaskie, Digital Strategist


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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

5 thoughts on “10 Disadvantages of Using Cloud Software to Power Your Business

  1. Wynand Roos

    My God YEC, google is not “the cloud”, personally I believe point 1 have some validity but the rest are poor management of resources in my opinion. There is a host of business solutions that can even be deployed in a Hybrid architecture. This would have been a much better article if you compared the positive with the negative and concluded with a solid recommendation.

  2. DortchOnIT

    Sigh. Reading this article reminds me of discussions with my friends still living on the East Coast of the US, from whence I moved to northern California more than three decades ago. They say, “earthquakes, oooh!” I say, “snowstorms and hurricanes, oooh!” For every so-called disadvantage listed in this article, I’ve seen or personally experienced something equally challenging or worse thanks to premise-based alternatives. And most of the disadvantages can be overcome with better and more consistently enforced business processes and practices.

    Despite their disadvantages, actual and perceived, cloud-based technologies represent the only foreseeable, affordable future for organizations, especially start-ups and smaller companies. This is because premise-based environments are too expensive and too challenging for most such organizations to manage sustainably, and too inflexible to deliver the features users expect and demand. So how about a follow-up piece intended to help decision makers to get past the disadvantages and take full advantages of the many advantages cloud-based technologies offer?

  3. Patrickbull

    So different people and various situations can occur. Everything can happen in this world. BUt I still personally think that clouds have more advantages than disadvanatges. I have used cloud-based solution Anturis to monitor my IT infrastrcture not for a long time and I can say I am fully satisfied with it and I have never any troubles mentioned above. The speed of the Internet can be slower, but it is not a relugar thing at all;no unpredictable service; nothing of the kind. I have been very lucky.

    • Ramon Ray

      Patrick, so true- while the cloud is right for most. There are many variables that folks need to be aware of and smart questions to ask when investing in “cloud” computing.


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