Hurricane Sandy Puts Spotlight on Cloud-Based Data Storage
The cloud computing skeptics may still think keeping data locked away within the four walls of a business is the best way to protect data, but as Hurricane Sandy continues up the Eastern Seaboard, the best place to store data may very well be the cloud. In fact, it’s fairly likely — at least if you still want access to it as Sandy starts to take its toll on IT infrastructure.
A team of engineers at Johns Hopkins University led by Seth Guikema is predicting up to 10 million people on the U.S. East Coast could lose power because of Hurricane Sandy. Imagine how many businesses will be affected, suffering downtime. And it’s not just those on the East Coast that have to worry — customers with remote and branch offices to the west that won’t be directly affected could still suffer access outages if proper measures aren’t taken.
Data centers housing many of the nation’s clouds, however, are taking precautions to keep their operations up and running even as the forces of Mother Nature come crashing down. When Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast last year, many major data centers reported they successfully weathered the storm even as businesses suffered internal outages. And during the reign of Hurricane Isaac this past summer, many businesses learned firsthand how the cloud can keep them up and running while high winds are blowing all around them and taking down their physical infrastructures.
Uptime during a disaster is only one of the benefits of having data and applications in the cloud. The other is simple protection from physical damage. Hurricanes alone over the last several years have caused significant amounts of damage to buildings, city infrastructure and property (such as servers and storage device) tucked away within breached buildings, but data center design is such that they can withstand a lot more punishment while also maintaining full operations and access.
Before any “I told you so” opportunities arise, perhaps now might be a good time to discuss with your customers the benefits of cloud computing in terms of business continuity and disaster recovery.