Who is responsible for backup of cloud services?
By now the various benefits of cloud computing are well understood, as are some of the inherent risks and downsides.
Our recent blog post on why big businesses should embrace the cloud – or face becoming dinosaurs, elicited some questions about the level of contingency and backup built into cloud services.
The point was made that in the event of a power or internet outage, access to cloud-hosted applications are lost, and that if you rely on a cloud communications service, like Conversant, your phone system will stop working.
We agree that losing access to critical applications like a phone system can be a major issue for many businesses – there’s no way to sugar-coat that fact!
However, disaster recovery capability is intrinsic in cloud services because they can be accessed from anywhere. In spite of an outage on a customer’s network, the services they subscribe to are still running.
All our services are located in multiple data centres which have redundant power, multiple network connections, restricted access and fire protection. Our platform also enables real-time switching between servers in case of outages at any of the data centres we use.
So even if a customer loses their power or internet connection, their calls are still being processed by us in the same way as Gmail still works even if you have no power or internet in the office.
With an analogue or VoIP PBX, or email server, on premise, you would simply be cut off when your internet or power goes down.
Many businesses, particularly in Christchurch, have switched to cloud service providers, like Conversant, precisely because of our contingencies and uptime, and our ability to process calls regardless of local conditions.
Since we are still managing calls, they can be redirected to other destinations such as mobiles, landlines or other branch offices. Conversant customers can set up rules for how calls are redirected if they are not answered at their intended destination, using a browser on another internet connection.
Our customers can also set up call forwarding from a smartphone in real-time with our Control Centre app, or call our support desk to forward calls if needed.
In addition, customers can use a calling app to take and make calls over their Conversant phone service on a smartphone or laptop, using either mobile data or a wi-fi connection in another location.
Obviously organisations wanting to adopt cloud services, particularly for mission critical processes such as voice, must ensure they have an adequate network to run those services to their requirements.
While can offer advice on the requirements, it is generally accepted that businesses who use cloud services are responsible for their own networks. It is up to each organisation to decide what to invest in terms of contingencies and back-up plans to cope with an outage on their network, based on their particular risk appetite.
This does raise the question of where the demarcation lies between the services we provide and other factors on a customer’s network that may affect the quality and reliability of those services. We will explore this topic in more detail in an upcoming article.