The cloud is indispensable but still prone to outages — and MSPs can reduce the risk
We all know cloud computing is here to stay. It’s too easy to maintain, too flexible and too cheap to not use — especially if you’re a small business owner with data storage needs and functions that strain your average on-site server.
But the cloud isn’t fail-safe, and we came across a recent report that highlights how much cloud failures can cost providers and business clients in time and money — and how important cloud management is to businesses and their clients.
The report, from the newly formed International Working Group on Cloud Computing Resiliency, estimates that since 2007, 13 of the world’s leading cloud services have suffered from a total of 268 hours of downtime, causing a loss of more than $71.7 million. Some of the most noteworthy failures: A six-hour Yahoo! mail crash in 2011 that affected more than a million users; a five-hour PayPal blackout in 2009; and — the one you certainly remember if you’re a user — a three-day BlackBerry outage in October 2011 that infuriated millions of customers and drove untold numbers to competitors’ smartphones.
The report estimates that cloud services are out of commission for an average of 7.5 hours per year. Now, that’s not exactly the world’s most unreliable service — that’s still an availability rate of 99.9 percent — but it’s still an annoyance, or worse, for business owners who have to be wired in all the time or risk losing time and money. For comparison purposes, consider that power outages in modern capitals average less than 15 minutes per year.
If you own a small or medium-sized business, you know you can’t afford downtime. You have a paper-thin margin for error if you have one at all, and it’s one of the reasons why CMIT Solutions’ cloud computing managed service package, CMIT Anywhere (“Business Computing, Liberated”), is so critical to the small business clients we serve. We understand — since we’re small business owners, too — that our clients have to be able to exchange emails, documents and audio and video files with each other and with customers at the drop of a hat. Outages mean lost time and productivity, maybe even lost customers.
It’s hard to find data on cloud reliability. The Working Group report is one of the few assessments out there, and the researchers concede that their survey is far from exhaustive, relying mainly on press accounts. Surely more will emerge as the cloud grows and becomes the standard. (There may soon come a day when the term “cloud computing” is considered redundant, when there won’t be anything not on the cloud.)
One thing we do know: the importance of managed IT services, particularly for small business owners. Outage can cripple small businesses, which is why we developed CMIT Anywhere to link our clients’ email, data, and business applications on nearly any device connected to the Internet.
It makes sense for local small business owners to turn to fellow local small business owners for cloud management solutions geared to their needs. With CMIT’s world-class support from engineers and technicians at our main office in Austin, Texas, when a problem does arise, we have the knowledge and skill to get our clients up and running again with minimal loss of productivity.
Are you a small business owner excited about the cloud’s potential but uneasy about depending on it too much? For 16 years, we’ve provided top-rated managed IT services to small business clients, handling every aspect of their technology for an affordable, consistent monthly fee. Interested? Visit us at www.cmitsolutions.com and search for an office in your area.