On Cloud Outages: How to Prepare for a Rainy Day

In recent years, both the public and private sectors have been enjoying the benefits of moving onsite information technology infrastructure to the cloud, saving time and money while increasing the scalability and security of their most critical applications. While the benefits are numerous, cloud outages have proved to be a significant drawback, especially when they are severe enough to bring a business to a complete halt.

Cloud outages can be caused by a variety of factors: severe weather, equipment failure, natural disasters, coding errors, and network disruptions, to name a few. While most outages are limited in scope, severe outages can impact an entire region and lead to extensive disruption. However, there are a variety of steps that organizations can take to ensure that a rainy day does not turn into a deluge for their business operations.

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“In many cases, businesses that build and run their applications in the cloud can endure a cloud outage with little to no impact if they architect their applications to take advantage of the automated failover capabilities readily available in the cloud,” says Tim Potter, a Principal with Deloitte.

Organizations that construct cloud-native applications can build in resiliency, designing apps to failover gracefully or redirect traffic to unimpacted zones or regions, or operate on a hybrid cloud model that diffuses risk among multiple cloud providers, in hopes that an outage impacting one service may spare others, especially if they are geographically separated and on diverse network paths. Identifying and eliminating single points of failure while building in redundancy is also crucial, though a cost-benefit analysis may be needed to ensure a highly available system is worth the expense. Proper monitoring, notifications, and alerts are also critical to ensuring IT professionals have awareness of and can act on problems before they turn into disasters.

CIOs are in a unique position to ensure that resilience is built into their organizations’ cloud strategies and to challenge their staff to build a cloud environment that can weather unexpected storms. Organizations that support their IT professionals in preparing for these inevitable service interruptions will ultimately find themselves with stronger IT infrastructure and in a better position to recover from disasters.