Learning from cloud outages

Learning from cloud outages

As many companies rely on technology for their day-to-day operations, any interruption of service or power blackout should be treated like a major catastrophe. Adapting to these challenges and being prepared for them needs to be a part of business continuity planning, and disaster preparedness for a firm. Among many of these challenges, one that deserves particularly attention is the cloud.

Cloud outages are fairly new phenomenon that many companies don't know how to deal with. With traditional computing infrastructure, firms lose access to their data and applications because of a power outage, cutting off all ability to work. However, the cloud presents new challenges, because a company could have full access to its own systems and internal network, but lose access to key resources because of a storm, blackout or other crisis hundreds of miles away where its cloud service provider is located. As such, companies have to perform a business impact analysis and assess exactly how badly a cloud outage would affect them.

Recent outages serve to highlight this need. TechTarget recently reported on a series of high-profile cloud outages that struck Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and other providers.

"Enterprises have outages all the time," Lydia Leong, an analyst with Gartner, noted about the incidents, according to the source. "No one should expect a cloud provider to be perfect – certainly the cloud providers don't expect themselves to be perfect."

Even an hour-long outage can cost a business millions, however, in addition to affecting customer experience and brand reputation. In order to prepare for this new type of disaster, businesses have to develop a recovery strategy that incorporates their cloud provider, or bypasses it, in order to avoid downtime should their cloud services fail, or quickly resume them through secondary systems.