Some users claim the browser-based Google Apps productivity is a bastion of good software design, solid infrastructure, and instant cost savings. But some worry that Google Apps could be a privacy nightmare -- not to mention the potential legal issues it raises, especially when a regulatory body enters the picture. The City of Orlando is adopting Google Apps for the former reasons, while Yale has announced they’ll be putting off their migration for the latter. Here’s a closer look.

In a post over at the official Google Enterprise blog, City of Orlando CIO Conrad Cross wrote a lengthy explanation of why he’s migrating municipal employees to Google Apps. It reads similarly to the explanation given by the City of Los Angeles a few months ago, but the highlights are just as impressive: Cross claims Orlando can save 60% annually - that’s over $200k - in software licenses and infrastructure by going Google.

“My message for other city governments is: do the analysis and determine what your costs are. If the savings are compelling, then move quickly - you'll see the move into the cloud is relatively fast and painless—and ultimately very cost-effective,” Cross says in the blog post.

On the other side of the coin, you have Yale, the prestigious university, which isn't the first educational institution to consider the cloud. They were scheduled to make the switch to Google sooner rather than later, but concerns about security, reliability, and yes, legal liability have put that plan on hold.

Information Age has the full scoop, but the gist is that Google’s policy of replicating data across multiple data centers for disaster recovery purposes could cause the university legal headaches. Why exactly, I’m not sure, but given that these are some of the brightest minds in the country I’m sure there’s a reason.

Otherwise, they have concerns about all the usual cloud shortcomings: security and reliability, along with the belief that Google is a prime target for hackers for no other reason than their size and visibility.

So there you have it: in two simple cases, the pros and cons of migrating to Google Apps. I doubt either one is going to convince the other party, but if the cloud is ever going to hit the mainstream, honest debate on the pros and cons is necessary.

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