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Majority of organisations unaware of costs and responsibilities for cloud outages, research finds

Most companies are unaware about the costs associated with a cloud outage and who is responsible for getting systems back online

The majority of organisations (77%) are unaware of the financial toll a cloud outage can have on their business, and where responsibility lies for restoring access to their applications during one.

That is according to research from software provider Veritas Techologies, which quizzed 1,200 IT leaders on their knowledge on cloud outages caused by natural disasters, cyber attacks or datacentre maintenance, for example.

Two-thirds (66%) of the respondents said it was the supplier’s primary responsibility to remediate an outage, and 76% said it also falls on them to get their organisation’s workloads back online.

Mike Palmer, executive vice-president and chief product officer at Veritas, said that while it is the responsibility of the cloud supplier to restore the infrastructure, the onus is on users bring to their applications back online – which often prolongs the fallout from an outage.

“Organisations are clearly lacking an understanding of the anatomy of a cloud outage,” he said. “Recovery is a joint responsibility between the cloud service provider and the business.”

He also said firms must be on the front foot to deal with these issues, which can be achieved using failover applications hosted in a backup datacentre or cloud.

“Immediate recovery from a cloud outage is absolutely within an organisation’s control and responsibility to perform if they take a proactive stance on application uptime in the cloud,” he said. “Getting this right means less downtime, financial impact, loss of customer’s trust and damage to brand reputation.”

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Other findings from the survey showed 96% of IT leaders believe companies will move to the cloud in the next 12-24 months. Additionally, 38% of the respondents believed an average outage lasted less than 15 minutes per month, when it is in fact 16 minutes.

According to a study from Lloyd’s of London and risk-modelling software supplier AIR Worldwide, a sustained outage on one of the major cloud providers would result in significant financial loss for companies. They predicted that if Amazon, Google or Microsoft’s cloud was to go offline for three to six days, it would lead to customers losing between $6.9bn and $14.7bn in potential business.

In March 2018, AWS did experience an outage caused by a failure in its East-1 datacentre region in Virginia. The issue, which came as a result of two 10-minute power losses, shut down hundreds of online services including communication tool Slack. This came almost a year to the day after another AWS outage, caused by an input error from an engineer.

Read more on Datacentre disaster recovery and security

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