The decision to store your company’s important data in the cloud is not one that should be made lightly. But it’s not a decision that should be avoided at all costs either. In some ways, storing your company’s mission-critical files and applications in the cloud is better than storing them on an in-house server or external hard drive. So, why do so many business leaders, particularly those who head small or medium businesses, still reluctant to even consider cloud storage as an option?

According to Eugene Tawiah, founder of EvolutionCloud, “While many business owners and organisation [leaders] have made the leap to cloud computing and hosting, many have refrained, primarily because they don’t understand the technology. The power and storage available in the cloud are huge pros for use of this new technology.

“A perceived con of cloud computing is the fact that business owners are uncomfortable with what they see as a lack of control over their information,” added Tawiah. “With their data stored off site, business leaders may fear that they are not as secure since they are not ‘under their thumbs.’ However, the fact is that data and other information stored in the cloud are much more secure as cloud vendors have better security than IT departments can employ on site.”

Charles Costa in his article for Small Biz Technology agrees that people should be cautious about storing their important company information in the cloud. Because no server, regardless of who maintains it, is 100% safe from hackers, Costa issues this warning: “Before you start using an online service, it is important to stop and ask ‘if this data gets stolen, how devastating will it be for my company?’”

What about people who actually use the cloud? What do they think?

Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance agrees with Costa regarding data security in the cloud. “Cloud storage does have its drawbacks,” said Schrage. “I’d say the biggest are the security risks it entails. I try to limit the storage of any personal or sensitive information in the cloud, as I’m still not completely convinced that it’s just as secure as storing files internally.”

“As a marketing and PR consultant working with a variety of customers and industries, cloud storage has made my work more efficient,” said marketing and media consultant Sharona Meushar.

Meushar, who is as concerned about privacy and data security as any other business professional, has found that Dropbox satisfies her needs. “My files are available to me anywhere, any time on my mobile, PC and Macbook Air,” she said.

While he does harbor some concern about the security risks involved with cloud storage, Schrage also acknowledges its convenience. “Half of the team I work with for my online small business operates remotely. Therefore, cloud storage is a major component of my operation,” said Schrage. “The biggest benefit I noticed when switching my file storage to the cloud is the money it saves. Cloud storage costs my business approximately 15% of what it cost when I stored files internally. This method of data storage has also saved time and increased productivity, as it requires basically zero maintenance.”

Whether your business can operate with something like Dropbox or requires the support of a managed services provider, you need to take the good and the bad into consideration before you decide whether or not cloud storage is right for your business.