Sometimes you see a piece that's just so well-written and so succinct that it says everything you want to say.

David Linthicum's article Five facts very cloud computing pro should know in Techworld's sister publication Infoworld is a damn near perfect set of guidelines on cloud computing. They should be cut out and pasted above every cloud administrator's PC or stamped on his coffee mug - if not actually tattooed on his arm.

Two particular highlights: cloud computing is not virtualisation.The two are often used interchangeably and, of course, there's a strong connection between the two but as Linthicum points out, it's not the existence of a virtualised layer that's important to cloud but the existence of use-based accounting and multi-tenancy agreements.

The second point that needs to be emblazoned on a data centre wall is that cloud is not a fix for bad practice. If your IT system is in dire need of repair and is not functioning properly, moving to cloud will not effect a miracle cure - in fact, it's more than likely to make things worse. It's a 21st century version of the old programmer's GIGO maxim, except it could be even more costly.

It's also gratifying to read his comments about security. If there's been one thing over-stated about cloud, it's the security concerns. Sometimes, listening to IT professionals talk about the cloud and security concerns I feel a little like I do reading the Daily Mail, where a fear of crime overwhelms the actual risk of crime. There are certainly very real concerns about where data is being stored - something that certainly concerns EU companies - but security is a different matter.

No-one is saying that security isn't an issue but to listen to some people talk, you'd think that no enterprise hosting its own software had ever been breached. That's the point perhaps - a system is as secure as the security around it and cloud is no more or less inherently secure than on premise - although there are ways to improve things.

If we accept that cloud systems need work and are generally run by companies that have security very much at their forefront of their consciousness, cloud computing is not going to be inherently insecure. A survey by the Aberdeen Group earlier this year found that cloud hosted email had fewer breaches that on-premise mail.

Linthicum's final warning about there no quick cloud solutions should certainly strike home. There's a fantastic amount of hype about cloud computing right now and enterprises should certainly beware the snake-oil salesman. Cloud is going to be a decision for the long haul and organisations are going to need to get this right from the outset.