Are the Salesforce and AWS outages dirty rain for the cloud?

Every year more and more companies throw caution to the wind and jump onto the cloud bandwagon. Why not, cloud SaaS services are usually simple and easy to implement, the IT Directors do not have to buy and maintain their own hardware and it’s all provided at a scalable cost that fits the budget of almost every business size.

However lurking under every hosted cloud service lies a dormant storm waiting to unleash.

Such a storm hit Salesforce and Amazon in recent months. On May 9th Salesforce suffered an outage which affected millions of users and resulted in a loss of more than 4 hours of data.

On June 5th AWS in Australia was hit by an outage caused by a real storm in Sydney. The affected customers included Dominos Pizza, Foxtel, Westpac Bank and Bank of Queensland.

> See also: Amazon investigating major cloud outage, GitHub and Heroki report issues

Ultimately, the 'cloud' is simply someone else’s computer. In the case of Salesforce it was their business continuity strategy that fell down and for the Australian companies it was Amazon’s disaster recovery strategy that failed.

The inherent risk of cloud services is the handing over control of all your systems and customer data to a 3rd party that may have a very different approach to DR and BCP as to your company.

For any SaaS application, the most frightening dormant storm trembling in the background is if the SaaS vendor fails financially or technically to the extent that all services are terminated overnight. In an immediate instance, the relied on systems together with the data is gone.

The point of this article is to get you thinking. Often when people outsource their IT processes they simply forget to take into full account the bigger picture of how solid and robust their vendors’ platform is.

> See also: Is SaaS safe? 5 tips for keeping data secure in the cloud

A December 2015 IT Pro survey analysed the attitudes of IT directors in the UK and the USA to the backup and protection of their SaaS applications. The research survey found that organisations mostly rely on their SaaS vendor for backup and recovery of their SaaS applications and only a third of respondents (37% in U.S., 31% in U.K.) are currently using or plan to use a cloud to cloud backup solution for their SaaS applications within the next 12 months.

Salesforce and Amazon are huge organisations and unlikely to suffer terminal failure. However their recent outages highlight that with all the benefits of the cloud across the IT landscape especially from smaller vendors, it doesn’t always rain sterile water, and sometimes that water can be quite dirty.

Sourced from Evan Lever, Escrow London

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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