Cloud Computing and Business Continuity Management

As you create your business continuity plan, do not forget to address cloud computing — or disruptions could negatively impact your operations.  

As you work on managing your business continuity plan, don’t let cloud computing slip by unnoticed. If your operations rely on any form of cloud computing, you need to understand its shortfalls to create an effective plan. Otherwise, you could be caught off-guard by disruptions to your cloud computing platforms, causing interruptions across all your operations.

Thankfully, it is easy to work around this problem by understanding what you are up against. With a close look at cloud computing types and risks, you can build a plan that will keep everything running efficiently. Here’s what you need to know.

Popular Types of Cloud Computing Services

Through the three main types of cloud computing services in action today, you can access storage space, servers, and more through just an internet connection. You do not have to heavily invest in equipment, software, and other key resources, as the cloud services can provide all you need.

Insourcing cloud computing services for your company, you will find these three models:

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Most commonly used by business owners, software as a service brings you all the software functionality you need in a neat and tidy package. Through each SaaS system, your employees can save and share documents, hold webinars, or streamline your sales processes, for example. You do not need to download the software or install it on your systems either. Instead, simply log in through your web browser to access the software and its full suite of features.

Platform as a Service (PasS)

Platform as a Service, however, speaks to the needs of developers who need to create customized applications for their businesses. The PaaS system provides the framework in the cloud, allowing developers to build their own applications with ease. Also web-based, all it takes is a quick login into the system to access all the tools and start building. No software downloads or installations are needed for this option either.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Through Infrastructure as a Service, you have access to hardware over the cloud, including:

  • Computers
  • Networks
  • Servers
  • Storage

With this arrangement, you can avoid or delay having to buy the hardware outright, which is especially important as you scale your operations. You gain access to all your virtual equipment through a cloud-based data center, allowing you to perform updates or adjustments as needed to optimize your machines.

The service you select, and the way your organization manages its usage, directly influences how to approach business continuity management in regard to cloud computing. For best results, you have to reflect on your company’s reliance on each cloud computing system and how disruption of those services could impact your operations.

Risks of Using Cloud Computing

Despite misconceptions, cloud computing systems are not always on and available from anywhere. In fact, since most cloud services come through a single data center, any problems in that area could impact your operations, too. If the system goes offline for any length of time, your operations could grind to a halt, leaving employees and clients in a lurch.

Furthermore, when it comes to most cloud computing services, your data is not guaranteed to be protected. If anything happens to the data center storing your information, then you could lose that information temporarily or even for good. Though convenient, single sign-on increases the risk of data loss, making it even more important to back up everything each and every day.

Addressing Cloud Services in Your Business Continuity Plan

When it comes to business continuity management, it seriously pays off to think about the risks of losing access to cloud computing services. Also, look at how the lack of access can halt your operations in the moment and negatively impact them well into the future.

Remember that most types of issues in accessing cloud services are outside of your control. And there are many potential causes, such as:

  • Poor system performance
  • Lack of quality service
  • Terms of service changes
  • Price hikes
  • Security breaches

Even natural disasters near the cloud provider’s data center can throw a wrench in your works and cause everything to grind to a halt.

To create an effective business continuity plan, consider anything and everything that can keep your employees from accessing the hardware or software provided by that entity. Then, start identifying alternative options your employees can use when their key service providers go offline.

Best Practices to Remember in Using Cloud Computing

In addition to identifying workarounds for defunct cloud services, you should aim to minimize your risk of disruptions in the first place. Start by avoiding chains of cloud services as a whole. These services build upon one another, creating a huge network of potential problems. Also, skip the cloud brokers. These professionals act as a middleman, creating a hidden chain of systems with few additional benefits for the end-user.

Remember to create a beneficial extra strategy upon committing to a cloud service. Aim to identify your expectations and establish the exit steps that will occur if they cannot meet your needs. Verify that you will have full access to all your data as well or look for a service that offers that option. That way, you can exit easily and without any data losses, allowing for a faster switch to a new cloud computing system.

By taking the time to address cloud computing in managing your business continuity plan, you can prevent your operations from going offline unexpectedly. Get started today to ensure you are ready for whatever comes your way.

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