What can we learn from last month’s cloud and social network outages?
When prominent cloud platforms and social networks such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Google Cloud, Apple Pay, Cloudflare and Instagram suffer extensive outages in a single week, impacting huge numbers of end users and businesses, and resulting in a constellation of issues including missed opportunities and significant revenue loss, it seems only natural that your company question the reliability of the infrastructure you have deployed in the public cloud.
But is reliability really at the core of the problem? Should you consider a service provider to be unreliable because of one or two outages? We don’t think so. From years in this business we know the following: outages will happen, there is no avoiding that. It is inevitable.
What is more critical is how your company is able to respond to an outage, as this is what will truly set you apart. At the heart of this discussion is a key ingredient in the recipe for winning and retaining client trust, a key component in a successful brand’s promise to its constituents. That key element is accountability, something that is becoming a rare commodity in an increasingly cloud-only world.
Control and Accountability: Missing Elements in a Cloud-Only World
Why the shift? Well — accountability goes hand-in-hand with control. Without control, it is difficult to be accountable. Yet as data migrates into a shared cloud space, companies lose visibility into its exact whereabouts, into the actual infrastructure that is supporting it — they essentially lose control over their infrastructure. Not only are they outsourcing their infrastructure, they are also outsourcing accountability for their infrastructure. Their mission-critical data no longer lives in the server down the hall or in a nearby colocation facility. It is no longer monitored by people they can call by name, on the phone, in the middle of the night. This loss of visibility and control has serious implications for businesses.
When an outage happens in the cloud, it can be exponentially scarier and more difficult to trace the source. Downtime can be much longer and costlier as a result. Companies find themselves at the mercy of circumstances they cannot control or mitigate. This places them in a vulnerable position because most companies need to be accountable to their clients and users, rather than passing along accountability to someone else while they helplessly wait for updates.
Mitigating the Risk: A Hybrid IT Approach
Many companies today are born in the cloud but even for these companies there are some options that will maximize control, accountability and the ability to mitigate an inevitable outage. The solution lies in diversification or hybridization of one’s IT infrastructure. Just as you diversify your investment portfolio to manage risk, you can diversify your infrastructure to protect against the unexpected. You can achieve this by adopting a hybrid IT or a multi-cloud strategy. The key is to not have all your eggs in one basket. A diversified approach allows you to achieve greater control and greater accountability as your company will no longer be outsourcing all of the accountability for your infrastructure.
Additionally, just as one can benefit from a financial advisor for sound investment guidance, companies should seek to have an IT infrastructure partner who can be on their side — offering insights, helping orchestrate, monitor and manage, and offering logistical support. Above all, the right partner will provide the critical ingredient of accountability, so that businesses can avoid the awkwardness of not having answers and recovery solutions for disgruntled, frustrated and angry clients, should an outage or other emergency occur.
If you are thinking of diversifying your infrastructure but not sure which strategy would best meet your needs, we would be happy to discuss your requirements and questions.