In my blog last week, I outlined my perspective as a consumer impacted by a website outage. As a follow-up, I want to share a recent opportunity I had to speak with small organizations that consume cloud computing services via service providers to support their businesses and who have been impacted by recent outages.
Some of the small businesses I know rely on cloud computing services as a cost saving measure that eliminates IT and infrastructure hosting problems. A couple of small retailers, whilst expecting 99.9% uptime, have planned for such outages knowing that the cloud is a form of hosted infrastructure that can go down. For others that were hosting applications under development, it has made them rethink their strategy and some may look to use a few providers for greater reliability.
In the long run, service provider outages won’t deter these businesses from continuing to utilize cloud computing services though it may make some businesses nervous, especially those who had regarded cloud computing as infallible. Some will use this as a learning experience that will lead them to implement a robust risk and security management program. Even small business will need to think carefully about how they ensure reliable and secure services to their end users. This will include performing backups and ensuring redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities.
One of the small businesses I spoke to relies on a hybrid approach – that is, using cloud services as a way of picking up additional load from their in-house architectures. Such an approach has allowed this small business to continue their operations even when their cloud provider has experienced an outage. They have also been careful not to rely solely on their cloud providers for protecting their data and have integrated their security processes and tools to extend to the public cloud.
On a final note, I’ll leave you with an interesting quote from a recent article in the Economist, “Although the cloud has many benefits and is generally quite reliable, it is clearly bound to produce the odd thunderstorm.”