You don’t have to look very hard to find examples of cloud service outages. In June of last year, a huge cloud service outage caused many high-profile websites to go down. Many visitors to Amazon, PayPal, Reddit, and other popular websites were greeted with a “Service Unavailable” error message. It wasn’t a cyberattack that caused these sites to be down, but rather a cloud service outage caused by a previously undiscovered bug. Another large outage just a few days later caused the websites of E-Trade, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Westpac Bank, and many other companies to go down. A routing table issue was to blame for that one.
Although cloud service outages often impact many businesses, they are usually short-lived. The outage caused by the previously undiscovered bug lasted 49 minutes. The outage a few days later lasted a few hours.
Regardless, the outages caused disruption to services affecting the service providers and their customers.
Managing the Disruptions
As the examples above show, even short cloud service outages can be disruptive. However, businesses can take measures to diminish the impact if an outage happens.
To begin with, organizations should have a contingency plan for each of the cloud services in use. The plan should address how to continue operations should the cloud service suffer an outage. The plan will be based on the type of cloud service that is being used and of course, the company’s resources.
Having answers to the questions below may help with determining the action plans.
- To accomplish essential tasks, do employees have what they require locally should the cloud service go down? For example, do they have local copies of applications and files?
- Is there an option to store applications and data in multiple regions or zones available from the cloud provider? This type of option would enable employees to continue to work if a service outage occurs in a specific location.
- Having a secondary provider for some cloud services may be a practical option should the primary provider have an outage. Would this option make sense for some of your cloud services?
- Would a hybrid cloud deployment be a better option for the business? Hybrid cloud have both private and public clouds. The private and public clouds operate independently, but applications or data move between them.
For contingency plans in case of cloud services disruptions, having the essential elements in place to execute the plan is the next step. Communicating the contingency plans across the organization as well as training the employees on the secondary services is critical. For example, if the organization has decided to implement a secondary email service provider, that secondary provider needs to be set up so it is immediately available if the primary service goes down. In addition, the company needs to communicate the secondary email service to employees and train them appropriately.
Cloud services have helped many businesses to maintain and even improve operations during the global pandemic. However, outages in cloud services will occur for a variety of reasons. It is best for businesses to be prepared with contingency plans to reduce the impact of these outages on their businesses.
MicroAge can help you determine what your options are and what your best plan of action should be based on your requirements.