Lessons from the AWS Outage

There’s an old joke in the IT industry that goes like this; “What’s a computer without electricity? A paperweight.” There’s a similar truth about Cloud services and last weeks outage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) served as a vivid reminder. AWS is used for delivery of many core Internet services and applications and many of the world’s largest enterprises and many important public institutions rely on its infrastructure to keep the digital universe humming along. So a multi-hour outage ended up taking down a significant portion of the Internet.

Disrupted services included Adobe, 1Password, Autodesk, Glassdoor, Flickr, Roku, Coinbase, DataCamp, and the Washington Post (plus many others). And as so many services tie into AWS, even basic household items such as those provided by iRobot and Ring were affected.

So what lessons can be learned? First, the use of Cloud services offers many conveniences but these services are still provided by computers. No matter how much redundancy, problems can and will arise. So businesses need to plan accordingly.

Second, if you scan the fine print of most common Cloud-based storage and email services, you find that data integrity isn’t guaranteed. So you should plan for a Plan B ‘just in case.’

Finally, your corporate Disaster Recovery plan should include what your company will do in the event of the loss or corruption of Cloud data. In this case the outage only lasted a few hours, but what would you do if an outage lasted 24 hours?

It may be worth exploring the concept of Hybrid-Cloud computing for your business. This model can minimize the impact of a failure in any one area and provide additional redundancies to assist with responding to disasters and unplanned events.

Welcome to 2020!

Author: Glenn Mores

President & CEO MicroData