More Cowbell? Cloud and Mitigating Risk

There is a famous Saturday Night Live sketch where Will Ferrell adds “More Cowbell” to a track being produced by Christopher Walken. It was voted as one of the top ten skits that the show ever produced. But what does it have to do with Cloud computing?

For many CIOs that are still considering their move to the Cloud – or weighing up whether they should commit even more of their IT to Cloud platforms – there is a perception of risk. In the UK, IT and cloud provider 2e2 was a significant Cloud operator that went bankrupt in 2013. The company had been worth hundreds of millions of pounds, yet it came crashing down quickly when it could not make payments based on its debt interest.

For companies that had trusted their services to the 2e2 cloud, this represented a huge shock. For the wider industry, it struck at the very heart of the Cloud model. However, there are lessons that can be learned from this and from other IT service providers that have run into financial trouble.

[easy-tweet tweet=”It is not as simple as stating that the solution to Cloud risk is More Cloud.” user=”mastersian” hashtags=”morecowbell”]

Now, it is not as simple as stating that the solution to Cloud risk is “More Cloud.” However, Cloud can offer an appropriate and cost effective route to protecting against company failure as a cause of downtime.

Cloud Mitigation can and should begin by understanding how and where your assets will be hosted. This requires some questions of your potential Cloud provider on the technical side as well as on the business and legal sides. Using DR planning best practices can really help ensure that your Cloud strategy does not fail.

On the Cloud technology front, it’s important to know whether your data is being hosted on your behalf in a UK data centre and who is responsible for running that facility. One approach that can work well to mitigate risk while controlling cost is to use two different cloud service providers; one can act as a production site and the other as a DR provider. What is important to avoid is overlap between the two.

not all Cloud service providers own and run their own Cloud operations

While this might seem obvious, not all Cloud service providers own and run their own Cloud operations; instead, they may resell other services that are rebranded. For example, public Cloud platforms can be rebadged and sold by partners. Alternatively, local UK data centre operators can offer space within their Cloud offerings that can be resold.  It can be possible to buy into two separate brands and then discover that they are using the same physical location.

Preventing this kind of issue can stop other potential DR issues too. Checking on the location of your Cloud provider can also ensure that issues such power loss don’t affecting service provision. Using a Cloud DR service should protect your services if the production site goes down for reasons of network loss, whether this is electrical or Internet connectivity. It is highly unlikely that your Cloud DR service will be physically located on the same power grid or network area as either your company or your primary Cloud provider. However, you can check and confirm that this is the case as part of any move to Cloud DR.

[easy-tweet tweet=”#Cloud #DR should protect your services if the production site goes down for reasons of network loss” user=”mastersian” usehashtags=”no”]

The challenge for DR and business continuity investment has always been the perception that this spending is on the IT equivalent of an insurance policy, rather than on creating business value. Cloud DR can help to reduce the cost of protecting IT assets and company operations so that these are more affordable. By using DR best practices, it is possible to make the most of what the Cloud can offer and mitigate those risks. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as “More Cloud.”

Sometimes the solution can be as simple as “More Cloud.”

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