Now that the notion of cloud computing has gained some stature in the IT community, a lot of vendors are looking at cloud computing as a disaster recovery solution.

After all, if you can provision a cloud to take over for your IT operations after a disaster strikes, there are a lot of benefits. You can have the cloud systems properly configured and ready to go, but you don't have to pay for them until you actually need them. Or, if the price is right, you can set up an always-on network or authentication server that will instantly switch over should your primary systems go down.

IT managers are looking at cloud for this reason and others and are finding out a few important things.

First, for now, private clouds seem to be a better fit for disaster recovery than public clouds. Public clouds often offer "stock" virtual machines, which then have to be configured and tuned back to your specs after the VMs are spun up. Tools like Bitnami's cloud hosting, which let you configure public cloud systems on the fly, can help, but right now private clouds seem a better way to go, for their flexibility alone.

Brian Proffitt is a veteran technology journalist, analyst, and author with experience in a variety of technologies, including cloud, virtualization, and consumer devices. Follow him on Twitter @TheTechScribe and Google+ at +Brian Proffitt.

Of course, a cloud of any kind might not always be the best way to go. If your organization is handling big data volumes, then transferring that data across the wire to a cloud can be impractical, even if that cloud is private.

Clouds disaster recovery may also not work if you have compliance issues with which you must deal. Data in your servers might be compliant, but not so much sitting in a private cloud's datacenter off-site.

Still, working with a managed services provider or private cloud vendor may help mitigate these risks, since they should be more willing than a public cloud vendor to accommodate your business' specific needs.

Just be sure not to fall into the hype trap, because while cloud is probably a good disaster recovery tool, it may not always be the right one for your business.