Cloud software is probably safer than what you can provide yourself, said Liz Herbert, analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. Herbert suggested that prospective cloud-jumpers "make a thorough list of security issues and check it against what cloud providers can offer." Then, she said, compare that wish list to the security that can be provided in-house. The answer may surprise you. Stefan Ried, member of Forrester's Business Technology Futures team, explained: "Technically, clouds are more secure than many physical data centers," he said. "Large [cloud] vendors have enormous risk to their own reputations. They have invested an enormous volume of capital to make [delivering the cloud] secure, highly available and uninterrupted." In fact, Ried said, most cloud providers make sure every disc is destroyed before it leaves the premises. Physical data centers don't always do this.