Where’s Daddy? Cloud Down? What?

With the rapidly evolving “Cloud” services, businesses now more than ever need to understand what Cloud services they are paying for.  Cloud is a term that is beginning to encompass more and more services.  For example, some entry level pricing for Cloud is merely “Hosting” – remember that old term from days long ago?

Hosting is Cloud, and Cloud is Hosting. Let us explain.  The future of Cloud is growing and is a very promising service where you can put your data; whether it is word documents, web sites, email, music…etc. into your space in the Cloud.  From there it’s available from any device.  Today, there are some very valuable and robust cloud services.  However, with Cloud there still is the problem of their false promise: “Always Available”.  Nothing in this world is 100%, and Cloud is no exception (as we recently saw with Apple’s iCloud).  Service providers should absolutely shoot for 100% uptime, and businesses should look at how their providers will respond should their service provider go down.  Don’t wait for it to happen, and come up with an outage plan today.

Businesses need to evaluate 4 major points when considering a cloud service.

  1. Price – how much “Cloud” is available at which price points?
  2. Accessibility – How can I access my Cloud?  Just with a laptop and browser?
  3. Availability – What happens when my Cloud goes down?
  4. Security: of course, always evaluate this… too many times it’s left as the last item to cross off the list.

Question your service provider on all of these topics, and make sure their answers make sense.  With the recent outages from GoDaddy and Apple’s iCloud, businesses need to be vigilant and hold their service provider’s accountable.  How do you do that?  With a SLA (Service Level Agreement).  If your provider is down a number of days, then hold them accountable with refunds or free hosting for the next month.  Make certain they have an SLA for the service you’re paying for.

Even with hosting services that aren’t labeled Cloud, outages can be avoided if businesses take charge of their hosting and review downtime strategies with their service provider. This means if you haven’t adopted a Cloud Solution yet, you can still benefit from redundancy without an overhaul of your web site!  Use simple DNS redundancy with another data center where you have a duplicate copy of your web site, it will pay for itself WHEN there is an outage.  Always think, WHEN is the next outage, not IF there will be one, and you will be on your way to a more robust online presence for your business, and you will sleep better at night too!

Cloud is a good thing, and is still emerging and maturing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you found it helpful.  See you in the Clouds!

Posted in The Cloud.

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