I use Basecamp HQ for a lot of my project planning and tracking, to host my business e-mail accounts using the Gmail enterprise systems and to have a few sandboxes on Amazon AWS S3 and AWS CloudFront. So I'm not one to be calling the kettle black.
For all the data that I own in these systems, if for one reason or another they were to go down or simply reject me, then I'd be up a cloud without a propeller. It's a hard feeling to accept that you own zero percent of your business's core infrastructure. Luckily, as a startup business owner, I've got more to gain than to lose by cloud services, which lets me sleep well at night.
However, what if I were the CTO of a medium-sized established business? When your revenue, dependent on these very enterprise systems, fits in the multimillion-dollar range, just how much can you depend on cloud partners when you see things like e-mail disappearing from Gmail.
Lately, on some of my consulting arrangements, the question 'internal or external' is ultimately asked. I've noticed that business managers are keen to choose SaaS because it's ready out of the box and relatively cheap up front, even though most times it costs exponentially more over five years. This is very much like shopping with a credit card: Charge now, pay later. Unfortunately, many SaaS solutions aren't the silver bullet they were pitched as and the business does end up paying for a lot of customization.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a cloud solution, as long as you have a strong master service agreement in place, disaster recovery alternatives and have done all the due diligence required (like financial health, existing customers and interviews, etc.) to make that important outsourcing decision. Problem is, as the cloud becomes more and more part of business as usual, people have forgotten to do their due diligence.