|By Tom Caper||
|December 5, 2012 01:26 PM EST||
When businesses think of cloud computing they think of the efficiency, stability and accessibility that it represents. Often the trust in the cloud is so great that it's easy to forget that there should be a backup plan in case an outage occurs. Although cloud providers offer service level agreements, this is not enough to guarantee continuity of service, and businesses still need to prepare for a situation where they experience a cloud outage.
Know the Impacts
Depending on what you've moved to the cloud, the impact of a cloud outage can vary. If your email services or office productivity software is cloud based, the impact can be minimal and simply be some delayed emails or late reports.
On the other hand, if you are completely cloud based, and have your entire IT infrastructure offsite, the impact of a cloud outage would be more severe and could impact your accounting system or sales order processing system, which ultimately could lead to a loss of business revenue.
Know the Escalation Path
Working with your cloud provider and knowing who you can contact for support is important. Make sure your IT staff know whether a ticket needs to be opened for a slowdown in service, or if a call to the network operations center is more appropriate.
Knowing the signs of an outage is critical too. Make sure you have staff trained to recognize the symptoms of a cloud outage and that they know the procedures for a backup plan.
Have a Backup Plan
In the event of a minor cloud outage, knowing how to reroute email, or having alternate productivity software in place can minimize the impact. If you have more critical business services in the cloud, it is a good idea to have a full redundancy plan in place to ensure that your bottom line is not impacted.
At the end of the day, the importance of a disaster recovery plan cannot be understated. No matter how much you trust the cloud, when you take the system out of your hands there will always be an element of risk. Know your vendors service levels, their disaster recovery plans, and your key escalation contacts, but always have a backup solution in place to prevent loss of time, data, and money.
Research for this post was provided by Rand Group - a provider of financial management software for the construction, manufacturing, distribution and oil & gas sectors.
[Image credit: Getbutterfly via Flickr]
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