Is your cloud hosting backup plan ready for 2021?

Most businesses have a whole array of backup plans in place. A backup plan for when staff members call in sick, a backup plan for recouping damaged or lost stock, a backup plan for emergency expenses… but what about a backup plan for their cloud hosting services?

All too often, backing up one’s website or application, particularly when housed on cloud hosting, is a task left a little more neglected than it should be. This can be due to it being put in the “too hard” basket, or the “something to eventually get around to” basket, or simply from being overlooked due to a business believing that they have a plan in place, but never actually testing that it works. Staff turnover can also play a part. If the staff member or team, who initially set up your backup plan has since moved on, it can be a chaotic experience to unravel the plan when disaster suddenly strikes.

In particular, if a business conducts significant online trade, unexpected downtime of their websites or applications can mean heavy losses. In 2015, one of Anchor’s larger e-commerce customers transacted more than $100 million dollars in revenue through their Magento store. Crunching those numbers means a single hour of downtime equals a potential revenue loss of around $11,415. It should really go without saying, if a website or application is a critical part of a businesses income stream, they should be taking every precaution to guard against outages in the same way they protect themselves against any other challenges.

We must always keep in mind that no technology is completely fail-proof. Even cloud services are not exempt from experiencing occasional outages and unavoidable technical challenges, especially if not regularly maintained and managed by AWS-qualified professionals.

As we continue to wade our way through 2020, reliance on the digital world has become far heavier and more demanding than ever before. According to research published by Synergy Research Group, spending on cloud services has continued to rise during the pandemic, passing $30 billion in the second quarter of 2020 – a massive increase of $7.5 billion when compared to the second quarter of 2019. As more and more businesses turn to cloud services to continue their survival, the greater the need for a focus on preparing for downtime.

As we swiftly approach the Christmas shopping period, loss of profits in the event of an outage could be far worse should they strike during the busiest time for online sales. Realistically, the real cost could be four or five times your ‘business as usual’ number. If you add to that the reputational damage to your brand, the financial impacts keep growing.

Fortunately, every cloud provider offers some form of Service Level Agreement (SLA), including an uptime guarantee, and AWS is no different. SLAs and guarantees set out to give us confidence in the resilience of the network, infrastructure and services while describing how we may be compensated should an unscheduled outage occur. But even a 99.5% uptime guarantee means your website or app can be offline for nearly 22 minutes each and every month without compensation – and that can add up to a lot of lost sales for a busy online business.

With that being the case, the best thing you can do is ensure you are well prepared to get back online as quickly as possible. As well as ensuring that you have a disaster recovery plan in place, it’s just as important to regularly test it too. Relying on a cloud provider’s uptime guarantee is never an alternative to taking the necessary steps to ensure your deployment is highly available. It’s worth investing a little more to protect your bottom line.

To add a further complication, there are several conditions that may prevent you from claiming any SLA compensation. If you aren’t aware of these conditions, it’s entirely possible (even likely in many cases!) that you may have already voided any SLA protections.

If you’d like to know more about ensuring your business is eligible for SLA protections, you can download our free eBook here.

If your business doesn’t have a professional backup plan in place for your cloud hosting services, or you haven’t thoroughly tested that your existing plan works lately, our cloud experts can assist you in ensuring that your business backup plan is ready for the busy Christmas period, as well as future-proofed for 2021 – because after the way things have gone in 2020, who knows what’s in store for us next!