Did Your Firm Get Left In The Dark?
You may not have heard about it (perhaps by design), but a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft Office 365 had a partial outage that left some of its clients and partners without access to files, Lync communication, and email for nearly 9 hours! Not having access to files and communication for 9 hours is like locking the doors to your office and taking down the sign. Clients think you’ve disappeared!
In a world where we rely more and more on the Cloud to run our business, hearing about these types of outages is quite scary. Even a giant company like Microsoft is susceptible downtime. What are your options?
The reality is that in IT, there is no such thing as 100% uptime, but you should be able to get pretty darn close. Most firms we work with that have onsite Exchange (email) servers rarely have any unexpected outages, and definitely not 9 hours worth at once!
So why did it happen to Microsoft?
One reason may be complexity. Office 365 is a “multi-tenant” Cloud service, which means it is a shared environment in which multiple clients access shared servers to view and store files, emails, etc. Although there are securities in place from a networking perspective to ensure XYZ Company cannot see ABC Company’s emails, they still share the same server infrastructure and battle for performance. If there happens to be issues with a server, or group of servers, it can affect many different clients. As you can imagine, the complexity that Microsoft must deal with is a little more involved than you might have in your own business network serving 50 users, instead Microsoft must serve 1000’s of clients.
This does not mean that Cloud technology or Microsoft Office 365 is bad or unstable. You just need to be aware of the potential issues and do your homework on the different Cloud services available to you.
If your building suffers from power outages, faulty server equipment, or outdated software, Cloud may be a great option for your firm. What you must remember is that there is always a direct correlation between the uptime of your network, control of your data, and price.
If you want to leverage the Cloud in the most economical way, services like Office 365 and Google apps are the answer. If you want more control over your data, uptime, and problem resolution, you may want to look at private Cloud solution for your firm. Private Clouds like WAMS Cloud Connect offer your firm a segregated hosted platform that dedicates servers just for your firm. These types of solutions offer the great benefits that Cloud Computing has to offer, yet still keep you in control of your servers and data.
To summarize, don’t let outages like Microsoft’s deter you away from Cloud-based services for your firm. Instead, take it as a reminder to dig deeper and fully understand the different solutions available and pick the one that is most aligned with your firm’s requirements for control and uptime.