Real Cloud vs Fake Cloud

Don’t Fall into a Faux Cloud Trap

In sunny Florida, we rarely see clouds of the meteorological sense, but when they are around, it’s important to know what they mean—because stormy skies may mean we need to board up or batten down the hatches. At rinehimerbaker, we are well-versed in technological clouds, and would like to send out a PSA—don’t fall for “faux clouds.” Today, we would like to break down the differences between real cloud and  fake cloud, and share with you what each means for your growing business.

In a recent blog, Understanding the Cloud Computing Stack, we explored the different layers of the cloud stack—sharing the basics of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS and each layer’s role in your decision to move your IT functions to the cloud.

Today, however, we would like to highlight another notable challenge and consideration that you have to make when deciding on a cloud solution—avoiding the fake clouds.

While it is less common than it was a few years back, one of the most dangerous and costly decisions that a growing business can make is choosing a solution that is not truly a cloud application. Rather, the solution chosen is just a legacy client-server application hosted in a remote environment, labeled cloud computing by vendors trying to sound modern.

Faux Cloud Can’t Check All the Boxes

For highly regulated businesses, this could be a necessity. For large organizations, this could be affordable. For businesses that only expect modest future growth, this could be plausible. However, for the average small or medium business in need of scalable, affordable, and innovative applications, these faux-cloud applications can’t check the boxes.


Faux Cloud


Hosted by the vendor, delivered via an internet connection similarly to an online banking environment.

Runs on-premises software in a third-party data center and adds a layer for online delivery.


Per-month, Per-user, pay-as-you-go.

Large upfront investment on licenses and setup.


Dependent on your needs, but can be completed in less than 3 months.

Could take over a year to complete.


Log on to a secure application via mobile app, internet browser.

In most cases, users must access legacy apps via client-side remote terminal applications installed on each user’s device. This adds unnecessary cost complexity.


Add or remove users quickly and easily

Over-buy to handle peak loads to prevent the risk of using too much.


Built on open standards and APIs, can onboard new applications with minimal effort or investment.

Generally needs proprietary tools, IT intervention, or time-consuming manual effort to transfer data from one application to another. When updates come, integrations need to be rebuilt.

Update Schedule

2-4 robust updates per year, based directly on user feedback.

12+ months, based on feedback from highest value clients of vendors.

IT Support

Provided by vendor.

Application support provided by your IT team. Hosting Support provided by your hosting vendor or IT team.


End-to-End Accountability provided by vendor.

Multiple points of accountability. Vendor for software, your IT Team for operations, your hosting provider for hosting.


Up to date with the latest standards and practices. Higher security, more reliability, better uptime.

Continually playing catch-up with new standards, and due to the multiple layers of accountability, security is a challenge.


Learn more about the different deployment options: Cloud, Hosted, and On-Premise in our blog, What Are the Different Software Delivery Methods, and see why the cloud is right for finance in our blog, Why Cloud and Finance Just Go Together.

Moving Accounting to the Cloud

Whether you are moving your accounting processes away from QuickBooks (common for a small business—we recommend you start with our QuickBooks Upgrade Whitepaper) or considering a replacement to a legacy application (for which we recommend the 2017 Buyers Guide to Accounting), there are a multitude of considerations you’ll need to make—and deployment is only one of them.

rinehimerbaker can coach you through the decision on a new accounting solution, helping you weigh your options, evaluate your needs, and find an option that can check all the boxes. Additionally, we can help you implement and integrate complementary cloud solutions—including MineralTree,, Tallie, Gusto HR, and more. Contact us to learn more.

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