How To Reduce the Impact of a Cloud Outage

Cloud outages can be inconvenient, but by preparing for them, you can reduce their negative impacts. This article includes five crucial steps to prepare.

Can you prevent a cloud outage from negatively impacting your business? It isn’t always possible to anticipate cloud outages, but there are steps you can take to minimize their impact on your team. How can you get started preparing for a cloud outage?

1. Implement a Multi-Cloud Strategy

A survey by TechTarget found over 80% of organizations use a multi-cloud strategy. There are many reasons for this widespread adoption, including preventing cloud outages. Multi-cloud strategies involve diversifying cloud providers rather than relying on one.

By spreading your data and apps between multiple cloud providers, you significantly reduce the likelihood of a complete cloud outage. Even if a single provider experiences an outage, your company will retain access to resources stored with other providers.

Multi-cloud strategies also allow more customization for your unique infrastructure. For instance, one provider might be perfect for running an app everyone in the office uses. However, a different provider might have better security features, making it an ideal choice for more sensitive data or apps.

2. Diversify Provider Regions

Along with diversifying cloud providers, consider diversifying your cloud regions. Usually, businesses choose their cloud region based on convenience. Selecting a data center close to on-premises operations can result in lower latency and faster performance.

This is great for everyday operations, but relying on one data center location can make your organization more vulnerable to a cloud outage. Diversifying your cloud regions can mitigate the impact of these outages when they occur.

Today’s leading public cloud providers—such as AWS and Microsoft Azure—have data centers worldwide. Take advantage of this to store your data in a variety of locations. For instance, if your business is on the West Coast, you could have everyday operations-related apps running from a West Coast AWS data center. Meanwhile, backups for all your data and apps could be in an East Coast Azure data center.

3. Remember Internet Security

When people think about a cloud outage, they usually focus on the cloud itself or the provider, but a user’s internet connection plays a key role. Most people access the cloud through their unique internet connection, so an internet outage could be just as detrimental as a cloud outage.

Take steps to secure your company’s router and connection security. You can do this in several ways, such as strengthening your firewall security or implementing network monitoring. Using a VPN can also be a good option if privacy is a concern. Make sure your internet connection is secured with a complex, unique password and change it regularly.

4. Prioritize Cybersecurity

Events like natural disasters or power outages don’t always cause outages—some type of cyber attack frequently triggers them. No matter the size of your business, if you collect any sort of data, you can be targeted in a cyber attack. So, an essential part of mitigating the impact of a cloud outage is prioritizing cybersecurity for cloud resources and on-prem devices and data.

While the cloud is often more secure than on-prem servers, it comes with its own cybersecurity challenges to keep in mind. For example, adopting a hybrid cloud strategy in addition to multi-cloud may be a good idea. This means using a hybrid or private cloud in addition to multiple public cloud providers. Private cloud environments are more expensive and complex to maintain, but they can often be more secure than the public cloud.

Additionally, make sure to implement a detailed identity and access management strategy, and segment data based on risk. The most high-risk data should have the most access control surrounding it and may even need to be stored in the private cloud.

5. Simulate and Plan for Cloud Outages

A key part of minimizing the impact of a cloud outage is preparing for one. Just like your business readies itself for cyber attacks, you should make a plan for responding to cloud outages. While you may not always be in control of resolving the outage, you can at least ensure your team knows what to do in the interim.

Your cloud outage plan can be part of your larger disaster recovery strategy. This is where multi-region cloud infrastructure can be especially helpful. You can shift your operations to active data centers in other regions until the outage resolves. 

Similarly, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the security risks of a cloud outage. How serious are they? Can your organization take steps to minimize or eliminate those risks? Questions like these are crucial to consider when developing your cloud outage plan.

Once you have a plan drafted, practice it with key business personnel. Run through a simulated cloud outage to test the strategy and see how everyone reacts. You can even do this as part of more extensive security simulations, such as security incident practice.

Staying Safe During a Cloud Outage

Cloud outages can be inconvenient and pose a serious security risk, but there are steps you can take to prepare for them. It may not always be possible to anticipate an outage, so it’s critical to diversify your cloud providers and regions. Analyze and monitor your internet and cloud security to minimize threats on your end, and remember to create a detailed plan for responding to cloud outages, as well. With the proper preparation, your organization can minimize the impact of any cloud outage.

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