The four-hour outage of Amazon Web Services last Monday caused thousands of websites to go down, forcing many CIOs and IT Managers to question how they can reduce their company’s risk of cloud outage.
Cloud technology has been disrupting IT for quite some time now, and that trend shows no signs of changing anytime soon. But for companies who have yet to make the shift to the cloud, it is easy to use examples like Amazon’s recent outage to justify sticking to traditional on-premise infrastructure, instead of moving to an infrastructure-as-a-service model.
Though Amazon’s outage caused widespread havoc for many of its customers that experienced slowdowns or downtime, it serves as a good lesson for companies looking to invest in cloud computing to do their due diligence when choosing a provider. Though there are numerous benefits to offloading workflows to the cloud (improved flexibility, lower infrastructure costs, increased innovation, etc.), There is still risk involved that companies should do their best to mitigate. In fact, a mitigation strategy should be part of every business disaster recovery plan. Consider these 5 tips to reduce your risk of cloud outage and your company can avoid ever getting Amazon-ed:
It the IT world, downtime is an ugly word; but planning to fail can help to reduce your company’s risk. Develop a mitigation strategy by creating detailed cloud breakdown scenarios. Work to ensure your company can come back online quickly and efficiently by performing recovery run-throughs. Planning for the worst means always being prepared in the event of an outage.
Having a DR plan and mitigation strategy in place is a great start to being prepared for a disaster, however, a plan is just a plan unless it’s put the test. Testing your DR plan is the most important step in actually developing a DR plan; its also the step that most companies miss. In fact, the cloud presents the perfect environment to implement a DR test, as you have the ability to develop a sandbox to simulate a disaster and evaluate your DR plan.
One of the major benefits of the cloud is that service providers can take away the headache of managing your IT environment. While this is a great feature, there is something to be said for keeping staff on hand who are familiar with your IT environment and have knowledge of how to handle cloud problems. In the event of an outage, these techies can ensure your business recovers quickly.
Investing in the cloud provides huge cost savings for companies that no longer nees to invest in their own infrastructure. Instead, these Capital Expenditures (CapEX) are moved to Operational Expenditures (OpEX), as service providers help to manage and operate your IT. However, with these cost savings in mind, going the cheapest route is not necessarily the best idea. Since the big players in Cloud computing have emerged, it has been a fight to the bottom in terms of cloud pricing. However, it is important not to get hung up on who is the cheapest, but who has the best solution for the price. The ROI on investing in cloud solutions that have redundant infrastructure and fail safes in place is HUGE in the event of an outage.
There are a lot of Cloud Service Providers out there for companies to choose from, but picking the right one is the secret to success. Read and understand your Service Provider’s SLAs. Talk to their existing customers and ask questions about their quality of service. Make sure you find a provider that cares about your success, and offers top quality support staff to help you in the event of an outage. Finding your Cloud Provider “Sweet Spot” isn’t an easy task, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Know what your company needs in a cloud provider and ask the tough questions to find it.