Before jumping into the cloud, the risks of data loss and security breaches should be weighed carefully against the promised rewards of lower costs. In the wake of breaches suffered by Microsoft, Epsilon, Google’s Gmail and Sony’s PlayStation, prospective cloud service users have to look at the issue from both sides now.

On a Clear Day

The concept of cloud computing is alluring, giving users on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources via the Internet. Instead of buying its own servers, software and data storage, a company can essentially rent them from providers like Amazon, IBM, Google and Joyent, ostensibly at a fraction of the cost.

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