How cloud outages can wreak havoc on business, and what you can do about it

How cloud outages can wreak havoc on business, and what you can do about it

Now that businesses of all sizes across almost every industry are migrating to the cloud, new challenges becoming major concerns, like bandwidth limitations and vague service level agreements (SLAs). Aside from the obvious consequences of downtime, there are also hidden costs to consider, such as damaged reputations and tarnished investor relations.

In fact, studies show that unexpected downtime cost businesses $700 million back in 2016, and that figure is in danger of increasing as reliance on hosted computing infrastructures increases.

The benefits of the cloud are undeniable, but they do require that you exhaustively evaluate your options and build a migration plan that aligns with your corporate goals. A dependable cloud solutions provider with a thorough understanding of your industry and the challenges it faces should be able to help you with this so you can reap the full benefits of an outsourced computing environment.

It's not always easy to make the right choice, but here are some tips to help get you on the right track:

Scrutinize your service level agreements

When you’re outsourcing your technology department, the SLA is the most critical document you’ll ever sign. Without one, your provider won’t have any legal obligation to provide the service you need and expect. Even worse is the fact that you could be left with a highly unfavorable exit agreement that leaves your business to fend for itself while still wasting money on an inadequate service.

Any SLA you sign should clearly stipulate exactly which services are being provided, a guaranteed level of cloud services uptime, maximum response times to support requests, and a complete outline of communication standards and security protocols in use.

In most cases, you’ll outsource support to a managed IT services provider (MSP) that offers a subscription-based service, which means you’ll need to be clear on how frequently the SLA will be revised and any procedures for cancelling the agreement and protecting your data in the process.

Factoring in redundancy

Regardless of what’s stated in your contract, you need to make absolutely sure that you know where your data resides and what systems will be in place to protect it. An outage can happen at any time, even with the most reputable companies out there, but it’s up to your provider to minimize the impact on your business by maintaining servers in multiple locations so there’s no single point of failure.

Most MSPs include some backup and disaster recovery services in even their most basic plans. Your cloud apps and data should be hosted in cutting-edge data centers with enterprise-grade physical, administrative, and technological security measures in place.

Although major cloud providers generally don’t disclose the location of their data centers for security reasons, they should be able to provide you with complete visibility into your data and how they protect it from virtually any eventuality.

Even the largest cloud providers can experience outages, like Amazon Web Services did back in 2017. It only lasted for four hours, but as arguably the largest service provider in the world, that was more than enough to cause serious problems for businesses worldwide.

To avoid becoming another victim of internet consolidation and centralization, businesses need to ensure that their infrastructures do not have any single point of failure. For this reason, some MSPs recommend a private or hybrid cloud deployment to guarantee maximum uptime for the most important systems.

SinglePoint Global delivers bespoke cloud deployments and help desk services to organizations wanting to maximize the effectiveness of their digital transformation strategies. Call us today if you’re ready to say goodbye to your technology worries.