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Does the Cloud Automatically Mean Service Outages?

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When considering whether your business is ready to enter the world of cloud-computing, be sure to calculate both the pros and the cons.  Working in the cloud can improve communication and collaboration with field service teams and sales representatives who spend more time out of the office than in it.  However, don’t forget to consider potential costs, such as costs incurred service outages.

According to “Calculating the true costs of cloud outages,” posted on Infoworld.com by David Linthicum, using cloud technology is like any other computer-related technology – there will be service outages and unexpected downtime.  An outage on January 31st lasted 49 long minutes for Amazon.com, causing frustration for both the consumer and Amazon management.  Amazon estimates a loss of approximately $5 million “for every hour it is not up and running”.  That is an eye-opener, but it’s no different from outages that you face using on-premise technology.  Servers overheat, software gets bogged down, and there is always a threat of virus or other disruptive invasions.  As with any technology, you have to be prepared for downtime due to breakdown or upgrade.

All of the costs with licensing, equipment, training, and other provider-related costs are easily outlined in the contract with your software provider/cloud-services provider.  Possible downtime due to service updates or other maintenance should also be discussed when hammering out contract details.  You should consider what can happen to your business when your team can’t access their business data.  If you operate 24/7, like many of today’s businesses, any downtime could cost you in lost sales, revenue, and unsatisfied customers.  Scheduled outages may not have as big of an impact as unforeseen outages, like what happened to Amazon.  However, both expected and unexpected outages have a calculable cost.

Don’t let the fear of cloud outages keep you from using cloud technology.  The cloud also has calculable benefits.  Your business can use top-notch technology without a costly investment in new hardware or software.  In most cases, you can get started using business management software faster than with an on-premise implementation.  In addition, accessing data from tablets and other mobile devices enables your team to work from anywhere and at any time.  Streamlining operations and improving productivity has a true benefit to your bottom line.

Whether in the cloud or on-premise, you are likely to encounter downtimes with technology.  How much it costs and what you do when it happens are items you can discuss with your software provider or cloud provider and plan accordingly.  Contact OmniVue for more information about using cloud technology and how to protect your business during service outages: http://www.omnivue.net/contact/.

By OmniVue, Georgia Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM Partner (http://www.omnivue.net/)

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