The business world is quickly embracing the concept of cloud computing.
A recent study forecasts that “spending on cloud computing infrastructure and platforms is expected to grow at a 30 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 through 2018, compared with 5 percent growth for the overall enterprise IT.” This is in part because of the cost savings it brings.
For instance, why shell out big bucks for an in-house IT department when you can simply rely on the technicians at the remote server location at half the cost?
But, cloud computing’s benefits have a dark side, as well. Let’s take what happened in the British Parliament mishap as a use case.
A failure in Microsoft Office 365’s service led to email and Skype disruption in Parliament for a whopping three days. For those days and nights, all work was partially suspended because of crashing Web servers, and slow and vanishing emails. News outlets said over 2,000 people were affected, including members of parliament and peers. And, needless to say, stopping Parliament affected all of Great Britain. The Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) team and Microsoft’s support team still have not been able to identify any bug as of yet, and they fear that the problems might recur.
The fact is that by working in the cloud, you are no longer 100 percent in control of your IT products or services. When you have your systems in-house, you can have your IT personnel look after your system’s functioning health on a regular basis, preventing anomalies and ensuring your business’ smooth operation. That is simply not possible with remote servers, nor is it possible to rest assured that your provider is keeping its eye on the ball.
So, what’s the solution?
You need to do what Parliament overlooked all of this time. You need to go for a good monitoring service, be it for in the cloud, on-premises or a hybrid of the two.
Cloud monitoring is the remote supervision of both physical and virtual servers, and includes figuring out shared resources and external running applications via the Internet. These services work constantly, identifying flaws in the infrastructure and discovering hidden patterns which may be overlooked, even by an in-house IT person. Whether your website is loading properly or if it has been defaced, cloud monitoring services can pick up on it and report it to you. Generally, a good cloud monitoring solution will continuously analyze, test and verify your business' email server, network and website from multiple virtual locations.
Do you need a monitoring service? Only if your business uses the Internet for communications and operations. It has been found that mere email problems or website loading delays can cause serious damage to a business. As Harry Shum, executive vice president of technology and research at Microsoft, recently stated: “Consumers will visit a business website less frequently if it is slower than a competitor's page by a mere 250 milliseconds.” And, according to Gartner, the cost of network downtime averages $5,600 per minute, or well over $300,000 per hour.
Those are the reasons why you need cloud monitoring services. With frequent testing for uptime, latency and instant notification alerts on any possible chances of email, server or site failures, you can effectively keep consumers happy and satisfied with your service. Because, as a business owner, you just can’t let your business be the next disaster at Parliament.
Failure of the Office 365 cloud-based email service used by Parliament could be prevented with strong, end-user experience monitoring solutions.