Some of the cloud confusion that I previously discussed must be subsiding because even though only 7% of small businesses were using cloud computing services as of April 2010, that number is expected to exceed 10% by mid 2011 according to technology research firm IDC.  Either that or more small businesses feel they need to jump on the cloud computing band wagon.  As I have also discussed in previous posts, the reason for the increased use of cloud computing services is its affordability and flexibility.  And finally, we all know the importance of investigating a cloud computing service provider before signing that contract.

Nevertheless, despite our good intentions, mistakes in selecting a cloud computing provider will happen.  Therefore, another question a customer of cloud computing services must ask itself is how easy will it be for me to transfer to another cloud computing vendor.  Unfortunately, the answer may be that it is not easy. 

Depending upon the cloud computing service you are using and the amount of time you have been with a certain cloud computing provider, it may take a significant amount of time and work to transfer to a new cloud computing vendor.  This is because all your historical data used in connection with the software program may be stored with the cloud computing provider you first selected.  In the cloud, you don’t have the luxury of simply uninstalling the software program and returning any hard copies to the software company like you do with an in-house software application.  Nevertheless, a change may be necessary, which is why you want to make sure your Service Level Agreement provides that the cloud computing provider will cooperate with you to transfer your data to another cloud computing service provider. 

So make sure you select the right cloud computing provider in the beginning and be prepared to be with that provider for the long haul.