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How to make sure you understand your cloud provider contract

The cloud is not simply another technology platform and must be managed well to avoid having a negative impact on both people and process.

Jeff Rowe | Oct 24, 2017 12:00 am

While cloud providers have come a long way in a short time when it comes to the range of services they provide, cloud consumers still need to be alert when it comes to ensuring things such as service, or business, continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR).

As writer Brian Murray noted recently at CloudTech, “some cloud providers have done a good job clarifying that responsibility for continuity and recovery in the supported IT service remains with the customer. Cloud providers do offer some help - for example, providing multiple availability zones - and organizations should, at the outset, consider this, as well as the benefits of a multi–vendor cloud strategy to reduce the risk of any critical services going down.”

As he sees it, there are three different areas needed to address BC and DR: “continuity planning to ensure the relevant events, risks and business impacts are represented in the solution requirements; recovery solutions that are well-designed, professionally managed and inspire confidence through effective testing; and crisis management to escalate incidents through a clear process, up to DR invocation and beyond to repatriation to the primary/BAU state.”

Continuity planning, Murray says, is clearly the responsibility of the business, rather than the IT function, but when it comes to crisis management, “IT has to quickly recognize any underlying or growing crisis-level events and invoke the necessary action plans. Never underestimate the importance of executing the action plans in a controlled manner.”

Despite his caution, Murray says that although cloud adoption should never be thought of as a solution to an organization’s DR and BC challenges, it certainly can play a positive role. “The combination of an effective (Service Integration and Management) model, an evolved cloud operating model, diligent IT service impact assessments and use of availability zones across multiple cloud suppliers, can help organizations ensure their business (has) the built-in resilience to survive any outages and disasters.”