10 steps to avoid cloud vendor lock-in | ZDNet.
When cloud based applications for lawyers began to get popular play, they were called Software As A Service (SAAS) applications, and one of the first questions I asked about them was "what happens when I want to stop, or go to a competitor, or go back to a stand alone solution?". I love the current crop of law office based systems that are based in the cloud; but, I won't discuss them specifically here, since I don't want to play favorites. You need to do your own research if you are considering moving client and case management, or other back office services to the cloud. Whatever you call them, however, (web based software, cloud computing or whatever) you need to ask some important questions, and understand the answers before you jump in. Vendor lock-in is one of the most important questions. Can I back up my data, in usable form, on a regular basis? What if I don't want to subscribe to your service any more? How do I get my data out, in a format that I can use locally, or migrate to another service. Until there are standardized data methods available, you need to know the answer.