Back in the day, a number of hosting companies offered anti-spam services. Since I run some hosted servers via Prominic, and they in turn use Postini, we therefore went with Postini, and have had a number of years of faultless, good service.
Since then, unfortunately, Postini has been purchased by Google. At the time, I thought 'meh', it shouldnt change matters much.
Well, on Monday at 19:45 local time, one of my servers at Postini stopped receiving SMTP mail. On Tuesday, Prominic opened a trouble ticket with Postini, and after 23 hours waiting, resorted to google-searching the net for a number for a human who could actually help.
And thankfully, they did. Mail started unspooling, and life is good again.
What has this taught me?
That a cloud service that does not support its paying customers is not a good cloud service. That despite having an excellent hosting company such as Prominic looking after us (and they *do* look after us), its still possible for some cloud-based google extension to ruin our day by offering horrible support. And they did.
Cloud is excellent, if you're requirements and support exactly match whats on offer. For instance, gmail is an excellent free mail system. If its down for a few hours - who cares.
But when you start talking about mission critical business email, even a few hours of downtime is critical. And as we've found out, some cloud providers are worse than others at providing support.
Make sure that you can call someone. On the phone. With a number. Someone who can actually fix your issue. Prominic - being my 'cloud' provider to me for coming on 10 years - understand that, and I trust them implicity. Give me a phone number for Postini. Right. See my point?
Be careful in your choice of cloud providers. Surprisingly the big names are just as fallible as the little ones. Indeed the big ones might be more tempted to move their support to some low-pay operation in a network blackspot part of the world, pack it full of low-grade staff, and keep taking your money. This works whilst everything works, but you and I both know that its when it doesnt work - thats when you see the truth:
You get what you pay for. Dont ever forget that.