Many SMBs and large enterprises are turning towards the cloud due to the benefits it offers in terms of effectiveness, remote store, price and scalability. Then there’s also the belief that third-party cloud providers deploy all sorts of technologies to guarantee 24/365 uptime. The service level agreements promise that downtime is going to be minimal and won’t affect the user despite interruptions or network maintenance updates.
However, does the cloud really diminish downtime? What happens when the server goes offline for a few hours? How much do these few hours cost you financially?
Many businesses often ignore the financial impact, and unfortunately, the cloud is far from secure and examples show that even the most reliable cloud service providers can be marred by outages. When a cloud service goes down, it takes down all companies and organizations relying on its services, halting operations and dipping into revenue.
With organizations outsourcing many of their resources for increased productivity to the cloud, it is crucial to bring down inefficiencies and downtime related to cloud servers and critical infrastructure. The following are some of the steps companies can take to minimize downtime and in turn, loss of profits:
Know the ins and outs
Keep an updated list of data access permissions, dependencies and mission critical controls in your cloud contingency plan. If you’re not aware of what is running in the cloud, you may have a hard time putting things back together in case of server outage, or taking your operations to another data center if your data is stored in multiple locations and one of the data centers go down.
If your company is heavily dependent on the cloud for mission-critical data and key services, you need to create a road map containing core operations and the order of downtime recovery. In some cases, minimizing downtime and continuing functions may not need the entire data to be recovered during a cloud outage. However, knowing what to recover, and in the right order, will always be critical to save effort and time in case of an outage.
Evaluate the risks
Perform risks analysis to evaluate the risks of your organization in the event of a server outage. Determine the operational assets of your organization. What are the chances that your business might suffer a downtime? How will an outage impact your organization’s bottom line? What plans do you have in place to bring down or predict the downtime? These are some of the key aspects that need to be addressed while using the cloud platform.
According to Masergy, state-of-the-art intelligence such as cloud infrastructure monitoring and real-time analytics can enable companies to analyze and monitor network traffic, critical infrastructure and application bottlenecks in the cloud. Some companies also provide cloud-based applications that enable IT departments to identify application issues and infrastructure before they happen to keep downtime to a minimum.
Sign an SLA (service level agreement)
In case you are not aware, the service level agreement is a standard these days and is offered by most cloud service providers (although a few may not be transparent). With an SLA, you receive a guarantee of a certain percentage of uptime.
And if for any reason, the agreement is violated, you can hold a service provider responsible for downtime and even make them compensate you for the financial loss you suffer.
IMG Credits: lennysan (Flickr)