How to be Prepared in Case the Cloud fails.

Everything works well in the cloud, until it doesn’t. Cloud services are bound to fail. Some failures will be momentary while others will be more serious.

This Monday, Amazon’s cloud service experienced an outage in the East Coast  taking down several popular websites such as Reddit and Airbnb. This outage lasted for several hours, limiting access and causing problems for small businesses and other users. A similar outage occurred on June 29th when a violent storm brought down Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest and several other websites.

As more companies and services move to the cloud, small business owners need to have a disaster plan in place in case of an outage.

Business owners need to prepare before an outage. This means preparing backups that aren’t stored in Cloud. Redundancy plus off-site storage is the safest bet. The cloud should be an extra place to store data, not the only place. Traditional backup solutions such as DVDs & tape drives seem like an unnecessary expense — until they’re needed. Businesses with large amounts of data would do best to hire a company that specializes in backup services.

Owners should also consider buying business interruption insurance. While property insurance only covers physical damage to a business in case of a disaster, business interruption insurance can cover some of the costs incurred during a data outage and the ensuing lost of profits.

Business owners would also do well to re-examine their contracts with cloud service provides, including how much to pay for backup and recovery services. Also, inquire if it’s possible to use data centers in different locations, to eliminate the chances of a single point of failure. Companies such as XDN provide cloud load balancing that includes automatic failover in outage situations with no downtime.

If your business relies on an online storefront, exploring a secondary web-hosting service could prove cost effective in case of a prolonged outage. While the cloud is a complex technical service, the ideas behind surviving an outage in case of a disaster are not. Pre-planning and preparation are vital, and if done correctly, will help your business weather the “failed cloud” storm.