Can we really trust the cloud? - Service Availability

It’s a question I hear discussed a lot (yes, the people I hang out with are so geeky that this is how we pass our time) – Can we trust the cloud? It’s not an unreasonable question, but people have a hard time coming to a consensus. In part, this is because they come at the question from different directions. Some people start talking about service availability. Others start talking about data security. Both aspects are worth looking at. Today we’re going to look at service availability.

scary looking clouds loom against a dark background, but is cloud computing as scary as some people think? Three clouds - one wears the mask of a cat burglar, one wears a bandana like an Old West train robber, and one looks like a gangster from a 1930's film.

Is this what you picture when you think of using the cloud? Is cloud computing really something to be afraid of? Or is it something you can trust?

Service Availability

Will service be available? Will you be able to get to your data when you need it? What sort of service interruptions might you experience?

The truth is, the cloud isn’t perfect. Big or small, the companies you use to reach the cloud will have service interruptions – times when you can’t reach your data. These could last 15 seconds. They could last several hours. Google, Microsoft, Apple iCloud, and Amazon have each experienced these outages. It sucks, but it happens.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trust the cloud, after all, there are local service interruptions, as well. Devices can lose power. They can restart when you don’t expect it (most likely if you’re using Windows and automatic updates). You can spill something (soda, coffee, etc.) on it. You can drop it, break the monitor, or trip over the cord and throw it on the floor. And there are a myriad of other things that can happen to make your devices temporarily or permanently unavailable.

A happy, trustworthy looking cloud in a white cowboy hat represents trust and reliability.

Cloud computing can actually be more trustworthy than local options when it comes to service availability.

The biggest difference between service interruption on the cloud and locally is that the companies you use to reach the cloud, small or mega, will almost always have far better systems in place to protect the data you want to reach so that it isn’t lost. Which is why I’ll discuss data security in my next post.

So can you trust the cloud? When it comes to service availability, I say yes.