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Cloud costs: Hidden and soft costs can pack a wallop

In SearchCIO's recent cloud economics-themed tweet jam, participants talked cloud costs, warning specifically about unexpected hidden and soft costs.

Cloud computing isn't all light and fluffy -- in fact, according to our tweet jam participants, cloud costs can really weigh you down. At first glance, cloud services appeal to IT leaders due to their purported cost- and time-saving potential across the board, but CIOs should carefully consider the hidden and soft costs of cloud before pursuing an implementation.

In SearchCIO's September tweet jam, cloud economics took center stage. To ensure cloud success, SMB CIOs should evaluate whether implementing cloud services will deliver the greatest value to the business. To get the discussion started, SearchCIO asked:

Our tweet jam expert Ravi Ravishanker, CIO at Wellesley College, was the first to raise concerns:

After noting these pre-adoption considerations, our tweet jam participants moved on to the soft costs of cloud. One contributor reminded tweet jammers that there are hidden costs in all stages of cloud computing:

The CIO should decide which IT activities the cloud would best support based on value and staffing levels, but unexpected costs often crop up. The first soft costs discussed centered on broader organizational costs and extra services:

During cloud implementation, IT leaders may also find that they are allocating more spending to networking and reducing staffing costs less than they'd hoped:

Indeed, some companies find that their headcount doesn't decrease significantly when they move some operations to the cloud. As such, training costs for all those employees create a whole separate headache for CIOs, especially where security and disaster recovery are concerned:

Has your company moved any services or applications to the cloud? Are any hidden or soft cloud costs emerging? Tell us in the comments section below.

Join our next tweet jam scheduled for Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. EDT (topic and expert TBA). To view the entire conversation from this month's cloud economics discussion, search "#CIOChat" on Twitter.

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What are your biggest concerns about hidden or soft cloud costs?