This time of year, when people think about buzz and clouds, it's typically related to the squadron of mosquitoes patrolling their backyard in search of that elusive patch of bare skin. But it’s also appropriate in the case of cloud computing, which, while frequently discussed in insurance IT circles, still doesn't have too many carriers currently on board.

Recognizing the buzz—and lack of bite—surrounding cloud, Slalom Consulting recently polled its clients to learn what they believed to be the most commonly held misconceptions about cloud computing.

According to Slalom, the top six misconceptions are:

1. The ROI is too low, and TCO too high: The most common misconception—and it just isn’t true. In fact, the cloud will leave the CFO with a large smile after a TCO/ROI analysis. It cuts out massive capital investment in infrastructure and moves it to the operating expenses column. The return is immediate: lower costs, higher availability, better security, more stable (no patching downtime), more flexibility (scales better than you ever could internally).

2. My data isn’t safe: There's a strong argument that the cloud is safer and, for example, Microsoft's data centers carry an extensive collection of certifications including (SAS70, HIPPA, ITAR, FERP, NERP) that help reassure companies their data is safe. 

3. I don’t know where my data is: Now cloud-based services can guarantee data location (including where the redundant copies go).

4. My processes have to change: Change isn't always a bad thing; a cost-benefit analysis will show that the changes are invariably for the better: lower administrative costs, lower time to market costs for new solutions, lower emergency costs because of reduced disaster planning insurance, etc.

5. My code has to change: An overwhelming number of common apps can be moved to the cloud without changing processes or programs. And, often, this gives the same programs additional features and enhancements.

6. There is a large learning curve: Azure is built to have a very low barrier to entry. Built in Visual Studio tools, local dev environments, .Net samples, PHP samples, Python samples, Ruby samples (lots of samples). Runs on the .Net platform with almost full feature parity. If you can write an ASP.Net website, you can do Azure. If you can write a WCP endpoint, you can do Azure (etc.)

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