Being prepared for when the cloud REALLY fails

Cloud services are bound to fail. Some failures will be momentary. Others may be far more serious. What's important is that you're prepared.

By George V. Hulme, CSO |  Cloud Computing

Everything works well in the cloud, until it doesn't.

Consider the Microsoft so-called "Leap year" bug that crippled that company's Azure cloud services last month. Bill Laing, vice president for Microsoft's server and cloud division, described the system failure in a blog post and said that Microsoft will overhaul its disaster recovery efforts, as well as other aspects of the business.

Fortunately, in this case, services were restored and the outage was (relatively) short-lived.

Nonetheless, it's a certain reminder of how things can -- and will -- go wrong in cloud services and that each organization is responsible for their own business continuity.

Also see "The cloud security survival guide"

Until recently, that was a concern of David Wellington, IT specialist at TAPS.org. Since 1994, TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) has offered support to more than 35,000 surviving family members of fallen U.S. servicemen and women with casualty assistance officers and military chaplains. As TAPS moved increasingly to cloud-based services, it wanted to make sure it had reliable access to its data -- even if the cloud services provider went down.

About a year ago, TAPS began moving away from its on-premise productivity and office software to Google's Gmail and Google Apps. "We were relying on our own services and virtual private networks, but it was clunky and sometimes the connection simply didn't work. Switching to cloud services made sense and is easier for our people to use," says Wellington.

More on cloud computing and security

Cloud security predictions for 2011

Cloud Security Alliance updates controls matrix

Survey finds companies still struggling with cloud security


Originally published on CSO |  Click here to read the original story.
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