Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#WorkAnywhere - Downsides of the Cloud

So this week has already provided some important lessons.

On Monday I was with a new client, a major force in their industry with multi-million household name customers of their own representing some of the biggest household names in several sectors ... The IT manager was very clear that he is not comfortable using cloud-hosted services because his customers won't risk him putting their data into a cloud-baed service.

Then, yesterday, #Sandy. As a business we, like many others, use a variety of suppliers, some of whom have services, or provide services, from cloud-hosted centres. As the effects of the hurricane and super storm hit the NE of America one of our key internal systems, a hosted project management and file storage environment, was taken offline.

It turns out that their computers are located in a building somewhere in Manhattan. They were safe from the floods because they were on a high floor. But they weren't protected from the power outages: they just didn't have enough fuel to run power generators indefinitely (who could?!). And with all the transport disruption as a result of the storm, they couldn't get fuel on site quickly enough. They had to go off line and we were disrupted for several hours, along with all their other customers.

It was at this point that it became clear just how important it was for us not to have all our eggs in that one project management basket. Because I'd got separate notes of what we'd put in there, we were able to sustain development without disruption.

But, there are still plenty of lessons here and much for us to reflect on as I prepare for a meeting next week with Directors of another client business before our full-scale off-site test of their business disaster recovery systems, including re-location to an off-site empty office ready to take their relocated staff.

With some 20% of businesses facing a significant disruption if not full-blown disaster each year, this is a subject you shouldn't ignore!
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