Risks of cloud computing ‘demonstrated by power cut’ in Virginia

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Electrical storm knocks out power supply to Amazon Web Services’ data centre

Cloud computing may be the technology of the future when it comes to the virtual world, but a power cut at a Virginia data centre run by Amazon Web Services (AWS) has highlighted the threat to continuity when such systems are not properly backed up.

According to reports, an electrical storm was to blame for the outage which resulted in disruptions to companies – including the likes of Pinterest, Netflix and Instagram – that relied on the centre to support their operations.

And given that other businesses all over the world depend upon similar facilities to run their servers and networks, it’s likely that more firms will begin to consider the risk that sudden breaks in cloud service can threaten their productivity levels.

But despite the dangers associated with failing to properly back up files in the event of any downtime, Lydia Leong, an analyst who covers cloud computing for Gartner Research, has told the Huffington Post that many smaller companies do not take the necessary steps to provide themselves with adequate protection.

"A very large number of companies don’t have a disaster recovery plan," she said.

While Amazon will have to move to quell fears that the recent blip is an isolated event, one of the problems associated with the cloud has been well demonstrated in terms of its ability to provide an unbroken service, so both providers and consumers will be looking for ways to enhance the safety, security and continuity provided by such systems.

"Security is the highest priority for any business that deals with customer data and it remains the top priority for AWS," Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener told the Washington Post.

If smaller businesses are to protect themselves against such disruption then backing up files and improving their security strategies could be a good idea.

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