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Cloud Computing Failures

The last few weeks have seen major failures from Cloud computing service providers.

  • A range of websites hosted for third parties by Amazon were off the air for over a day.  Apparently, an error in a standard process to adjust service capacities resulted in all traffic being diverted to a fall-back system with insufficient capacity.
  • Personal details including credit card data were stolen from the Sony Playstation online network.  It is unclear how this happened, whether through external hack or internal security breach.  The result was the network was down for some three weeks.

It might be argued that neither was hugely significant.  The Amazon service wasn't down for long, and the Sony site provided only gaming services.  However, for a business application like ERP, a downtime of just a day could incur huge costs in lost production, and the Sony site could equally have been one that provided business services or hosting.  A 3-week downtime would be a killer for a business if a significant application was affected.

The messages are:

  • Nobody, however big or respected is immune from systems failure or hacking/security breaches
  • If you are going to put business services in The Cloud, think very carefully about two aspects in particular.

1) What is your contingency plan if the cloud service you use fails?

2) What are the implications of breach of security for your data held on such a system?

Read more in the article "The Cloud" - your business in their hands?