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One of the hottest trends in the business world’s never-ending quest to cut expenses, cloud computing, promises to slash IT operating costs by anywhere from 40 to 80 percent, according to studies performed by the likes of Merrill Lynch, Booz Allen Hamilton and Google. But cloud computing raises serious concerns about privacy, security and liability that are particularly worrisome for companies with substantial intellectual property assets.

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.

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