For many companies, system outages and data losses cause inconvenience in business operations. To avoid this, companies are replacing the long-standing technology such as traditional website hosting with cloud platforms. But the question is how well the new cloud technology is withstanding the downtime issues? Regardless of the choice of the service setup (Public, Private or Hybrid) cloud platforms do experience downtime issues when things go wrong. Along with the array of benefits, cloud comes with certain downsides which can pose a risk to the continuity of businesses and websites. Today people are increasingly using cloud for several services with the impression that they have lower risks of service downtime compared to traditional services. But the thing is downtime is common even to cloud platforms. Over the past few years we have seen many interruptions in cloud services including the big names like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, IBM SmartCloud etc. This implies, no matter how good the quality of a cloud provider is, it is not possible to entirely eliminate the risk of downtime.
How Cloud Service Interruptions Affect Business Websites?
For website hosting, cloud does offer higher flexibility and scalability in its service unlike traditional hosting services. However, it cannot eliminate the possibility of downtime altogether. If a quality cloud hosting provider with multiple server zones is chosen, the risk of website experiencing downtime can be reduced to a certain extent. But it is not totally risk free. Similar is the case with storing of business data. While virtually storing the data in cloud has many benefits, the data centre servers are not completely fail safe. If the copies of data are not stored in an alternate system like in a backup cloud service, the entire data including the website content will be difficult to get when servers are down. The bottom line is whether it is a traditional data or cloud data storage, no service is immune to failures.
Most of the business owners do not put much thought into it unless they face the problem of any disaster or failure. No matter what the reason could be, if an issue happens then the website will no longer be available to the users. The site may go offline for days until the issue is resolved because as a cloud service customer the site owner will have less control on the issues. If the companies are completely relying on cloud based services, they may even go out of business unable to cope with downtime losses. E-commerce companies that do online transactions over web are best examples for this. If businesses rely on cloud for multiple services and data storage, the downtime affects will be more devastating. Let’s take it as an example, if cloud data storage service is down, the business will have no access to customer data and transaction details. More importantly the details of purchase orders and payment receipts will be lost. If data servers are down the business would completely come to a stall. Losing or having no access to data could mean losing the customer trust and business. So, if proper backup plan (such as secondary cloud provider) and downtime monitoring solutions are not in place, it is difficult to mitigate the outage effects and continue business operation.
How to Protect Websites in Cloud?
There are certain things that site owners can do to protect their sites from going down in cloud. When using cloud services, first they have to make sure the site has downtime monitoring. A service like web site monitoring will help them keep a check on websites and cloud services. If the business has more than one service on cloud, even a minor outage can affect business from multiple aspects. With a quality website monitoring service they can effectively address these challenges. Another aspect is to consider secondary backup plan for cloud service. In case if primary provider is down, the business can use secondary service instead of going through extended periods of downtime.