One of my clouds just vanished

I woke up this morning to a flurry of tweets about Google’s announcement that they’ll be killing off Google Reader in a few months time. If you haven’t used it, Reader is a neat tool which brings together feeds from websites which you want to follow into a single place, and it works nicely with apps like Flipboard to create a personalised online magazine of useful information.

Now, this announcement is a pain but not the end of the world. But I do expect that it’ll cause an even bigger flurry of people warning against the perils of cloud services altogether. After all, if the provider can just decide to pull a service which you rely on how can you trust the cloud (and particularly public cloud services) with your business critical functions?

For some time though a host of wiser advisors have been giving straightforward advice about the things to consider when you look to the clouds for your services, and steps you can take to do this safely. And in reality these are much the same as the steps we need to take when planning to buy any sorts of services, whether they’re cloudy or earth-bound.

Making sure that you know how you’ll get your data back and carry on without the service are a key part of planning your strategy. And so is making sure that you understand the business strategy and stability of your provider before you commit to buy from them — especially if the services are for business critical functions.

Reader evaporating is a good reminder of the dangers of cloud naivety. Cloud has lots to offer on a personal and business level. It’s just key to remember that nothing’s perfect and that understanding how you’ll manage risks and continuity is a key part of innovation.