Did your company adopt some type of cloud computing or is it about to adopt it? If your answer is “yes” and if you are in charge of business continuity, you might be asking yourself, what impact cloud computing might have on the continuity plans. In this article, you will be able to learn how cloud computing can affect your continuity plans. Let’s take a look:
What is the Cloud?
Cloud Computing is a service where all computing services both software and hardware are delivered on an on-demand basis to consumers over a network in a self-service way, independent of the location or device used. There are various benefits of these services such as rapid development, flexible pricing, and high scalability. Additionally, it allows companies to spend less money and time in the IT sector, as well as installing new IT capacity.
What Business Continuity Aspect Should You Keep in Mind when Engaging in Cloud Computing?
The goal of a continuity solution should focus on safeguarding continuous availability of the service. Simply said, when a problem occurs at the CSP, the consumer should be harmed as least as possible. Second, the continuity solution needs to be set up for the long term. Hence, the important assets of the entire enterprise (especially the data you choose to store on the cloud) will be available at any time. Let’s take a look at what continuity aspects you need to keep in mind:
Exit Strategy and Lock-in
According to the experts from Tier One Technology Partners, you will need to negotiate the exit provisions before entering an agreement. And to safeguard the continuity of the service, consumers should have already negotiated provider’s assistance to move the service in-house or to transfer it to a different provider. The exit process must include steps for ensuring continuity and the most important part of the exit strategy should be the retrieval and preservation of the data so that the data portability is achieved. A long contract term might lead to lock-in, which could make it a lot harder to exit the cloud service if necessary. With a stable exit strategy, you can avoid vendor lock-in.
Chains of Cloud Services
Usually, providers have a contract with other suppliers to conduct business operations. So, dependency on third parties will increase when implementing the cloud. Any consumer in a specific cloud environment will be subjected to a wide network of relationships that might be unclear to you. For instance, if a SaaS provider buys PaaS who then buys IaaS from one or more parties, there is a quite complex chain of providers. The bankruptcy of any members of this chain can impact consumers in a lot of indirect ways, hence, hindering the availability of the cloud computing service.
These are intermediaries between the cloud provider and the consumer. They are intermediaries in the negotiation and contractual relationship between the consumers and one or more CSP. An aggregator buys the service from a CSP and after some modifications or implementation of a new product, sells it to consumers, hence they provide a cloud service.
Not just CSP but cloud customers as well are increasingly combining cloud service from different providers which in return might increase the business continuity complexity. A cloud user might, for instance, use a provider’s service to analyze and monitor their systems, but might use a different provider’s services to manage the HR information.
Not only does the provider need to protect themselves from discontinuity of their service towards the customer, but it is also possible that the customer’s Internet connection gets disrupted or fails, even if the provider’s network is functional and it is not clear where the interruption took place.
All in all, cloud computing provides a lot of benefits to people using it and it is clear that it is here to stay. However, as the expression goes “look before you leap”.