Cloud Horror Stories: Don't Repeat These Mistakes (Part 2)

Mike Allen
October 31, 2014

"While security still reigns as one of the biggest concern for cloud adopters, it's far from the only issue that the technology has experienced. There are a significant number of items that organizations must consider when adopting the cloud for their processes, but some aspects are often out of their control. Since the inception of the cloud, numerous horror stories have popped up relating to vendor closures, breaches and a variety of other problems. These can create chaos in a company and significantly affect the bottom line. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes cloud adopters made:

Relying only on one provider
Vendor lock-in can be the death of an organization's data, as was discovered when Nirvanix shut down in 2013. Users often believe that their provider will be supportive for as long as they need it, but with the cloud market intensifying, some vendors cannot handle the competition. Nirvanix gave their customers 30 days to move their assets. This left many a very limited window to move large amounts of data at a time. For those that would not be able to transfer all of their information, it left them to wonder if the files would be sanitized, deleted or even properly disposed of.

For some companies that utilized Nirvanix, they would need the majority of the allotted time to migrate their data. This is due to the fact that many organizations have download bandwidth limitations that would strain their efforts when recovering their assets. By putting all of their eggs in one basket, and with no redundancy, businesses were forced to exert their resources to retrieving their information.

""A business should always have a strong sense of the assets it has stored in the cloud, but it needs to consider those points in terms of the time and cost of retrieving them,"" IT analyst Charles King told CIO.

Breaches can destroy backups
In June 2014, code-hosting service Code Spaces shut down after a damaging attack on its cloud platform. The company's Amazon Web Service account was breached by an unauthorized individual who deleted most of the customer data that was hosted there, according to Ars Technica. To make matters worse, Code Spaces had touted itself as having a full recovery plan and being able to protect customer data from catastrophic events. The breach came as a follow-up to a distributed denial-of-service attack that sought to extort money.

Code Spaces' inability to live up to its promises left users doubting its credibility and ultimately led to the service closing its doors. The financial cost of resolving the issue and restoring subscriber data would have put the company in an irreversible position and likely resulted in a similar discontinuation of service.

""Backing up data is one thing, but it is meaningless without a recovery plan, not only that [but also] a recovery plan - and one that is well-practiced and proven to work time and time again,"" Code Spaces' website stated.

Glitches lead to service failures
The issue with Code Spaces is not the first issue that Amazon Web Services has run into. In August 2013, the provider experienced a hardware failure in their north Virginia data center, which lead to problems in Vine, Instagram and Flipboard. The outage was determined to be a grey partial failure that resulted in data loss, and was a glitch from a single networking device, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In response to this complication, Amazon has urged their subscribers to spread their services across multiple data centersto ensure redundancy in similar situations.

While redundancy can help ensure cloud operations continue without downtime, companies must consider the cost and latency that would be involved with this geographical solution. Instead, users may want to buy infrastructure from one services, but use others as their backups.

""Sunday's outage, like so many other recent cloud service snafus, demonstrates that few cloud customers are properly following this orthodoxy and that true redundancy may be much more complicated than it sounds,"" Bloomberg stated.

Takeaway for cloud adopters
While these horror stories are certainly something to be aware of, they will help adopters better configure their solutions. By understanding the dangers, organizations can plan out a backup plan to prevent these disasters and ensure that their cloud solutions exist to benefit their bottom line."



    Mike Allen

    "While security still reigns as one of the biggest concern for cloud adopters, it's far from the only issue that the technology has experienced. There are a significant number of items that organizations must consider when adopting the cloud for their processes, but some aspects are often out of their ...

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