In today’s digital era, data is the lifeblood of business, and cloud service providers are expected to deliver uninterrupted 24/7/365 service to their customers. There is never a good time for a cloud outage – but there are steps that an organization can take to minimize the disruption.
More and more businesses rely on cloud-based applications, data and systems for their IT needs. A cloud-based approach offers a number of advantages, including greater agility, reduced latency, cost-savings, and greater flexibility for extra storage and processing capability, as and when you need it.
However, despite the growing reliance on cloud services, the infrastructure that businesses rely upon is not always as reliable as many assume. Even large cloud providers suffer service outages and failures:
For modern, data-powered organisations, any downtime is a costly and frustrating disruption. If your company fails to have a strategy or solution in place to mitigate the impact of these outages, then the result is lost productivity, lost revenue - and potentially lost customers.
With this in mind, let’s examine the four ways to guard your enterprise against cloud outages:
1 Adopt a redundant multi-cloud environment
Distributing workloads across multiple geographical locations increases redundancy and drastically reduces downtime for companies. Don't put your business at risk by having a single point of failure. An IT approach based on multiple clouds and multiple locations will reduce risk and increase flexibility to adapt to changing business requirements.
2 Make security and compliance a top priority
Cloud services offer a range of commercial advantages and operational benefits. But hackers can also exploit vulnerabilities and cause cloud outages. Companies should therefore ensure they have the correct security tools and processes in place to safeguard themselves.
What’s also important is to choose a cloud service provider that has extensive security and compliance capabilities. While many cloud providers claim to be compliant, not all of them have certifications and accreditation to prove it. Start by vetting vendors according to whether they take a multi-layered approach to physical and cyber security.
3 Test for cloud outages
Test, test, test. You will never regret being overly prepared for an emergency, so don’t put off testing for failure. Malicious external attacks and insider threats, as well as simple system updates, can cause cloud outages. You should always test and plan for everything because an outage is almost always preventable.
Failure tests can range from evaluating response plans to assessing storage migration operations. The priority is to act fast and respond appropriately during an incident. Since the cloud is a staged environment, it’s an ideal environment to test for failures. An organisation can replicate its systems in a staged arrangement and analyse how it will react to different circumstances.
4 Re-examine your communication plan
In addition to testing for cloud outages, have in place a tried-and-tested communication plan that fits together with your disaster recovery and business continuity efforts. Unfortunately, an often-overlooked part of mitigating cloud outages is the communication plan.
In the event of an outage, there should be an internal communication plan for employees and an external communication plan for customers or stakeholders. Review this plan annually or quarterly, depending on your company needs. This communications plan could save your business and your customers significant long-term costs.