Reading Time: 4 minutes

Facts are facts: data is constantly at risk, and ignoring the threats to data can be a costly mistake. According to Uptime Institute’s 2022 Outage Analysis, over 60% of organizations that use the public cloud reported losses in 2022 due to cloud outages. As numbers like this continue to increase, it’s clear that outages aren’t some rare occurrence — they’re inevitable

A cloud outage is a span of time during which a cloud provider’s services are unavailable to users, meaning clients lose access to their cloud-based assets until the provider resolves the issue. For organizations that rely heavily on data, outages result in company downtime, which can be extremely damaging to a company’s operations and profitability. According to Gartner, an average minute of downtime costs companies $5,600, so it’s imperative that outages are resolved quickly and with minimal data loss. 

Cloud outages can happen for a variety of reasons, and regardless of the cause, they can have significant negative impacts. As such, today’s organizations must understand how cloud outages work to combat these side effects.

Understanding Cloud Outages

Outages start on the provider’s end, so there is little to no failure visibility. In most instances, users don’t know what went wrong. On the bright side, this also means the provider is responsible for resolving the issue. But again, users have no way of knowing what happened — or when their cloud services will go back online.

There are two types of cloud outages: planned and unplanned. Planned outages take place during maintenance or other predictable events that require the cloud to be temporarily out of service. Unplanned outages are any instance when an uncontrolled external factor impacts cloud performance. These events include power outages, cyber-attacks, human errors, technical problems, and environmental causes.

The Impact of Cloud Outages

Cloud outages can affect many different aspects of a company, from finances to operations to brand image. Let’s look at some common ways cloud outages can be costly.

1.) Downtime costs

Cloud outages can cause extended downtime, making businesses unable to carry out their usual operations because they can’t access critical data, applications, and services. This downtime leads to a decrease in productivity and revenue as businesses are unable to meet deadlines. 

2.) Disrupted operations

Depending on the nature of a company’s business, its entire workflow can be halted during a cloud outage. They will lose access to any systems and applications hosted in the cloud and be unable to perform tasks effectively, delaying projects and deadlines. Collaboration will also take a hit because communication channels and shared files will be negatively impacted, which hinders teamwork and overall productivity.

3.) Data loss

Some types of outages, such as cyberattacks or human errors, will result in data loss. With no proper backup or recovery plan in place, this loss can be extremely costly from both financial and intellectual standpoints. Furthermore, sensitive data loss has legal and compliance implications, and the negative fallout can damage a company’s reputation.

4.) Loss of customer trust

Frequent cloud outages cause customers to question an organization’s ability to secure and protect data. Customers may also start to worry that their own sensitive data will be compromised. Additionally, outages will prevent companies from providing consistent services, leading to further customer dissatisfaction and a negative company reputation.

5.) Compliance concerns

Many industries have compliance regulations and requirements surrounding data storage, privacy, and security. Cloud outages can hinder a business’s ability to meet those requirements. Sensitive data that’s lost or leaked during an outage can incur legal repercussions and financial penalties.

Needless to say, not much good can come from a cloud outage. But again, outages can be both planned and unplanned, and there’s not much that organizations can do to stop them from happening. Thankfully, Panzura offers an ideal solution!

Panzura Helps Companies Stay Up When Their Clouds Go Down

Organizations can combat cloud outages by utilizing data resiliency, meaning they replicate their data in a second location. Data replication allows companies to access their data consistently without experiencing downtime. It also improves data availability and accessibility, which improves data sharing and recovery. 

Panzura provides data resiliency through CloudFS’s cloud mirroring. Organizations can put their data set into two separate object stores. During normal operations, writing occurs simultaneously in both object stores. Data is only read from the primary object store, but both clouds operate and hold an identical data set. A real-time write split captures any new and changed data in both object stores.

Panzura uses a cloud connector to communicate with any compatible object store using the cloud’s RESTful API. The cloud can be public, private, or “dark.” Data is simultaneously written to both clouds in immutable form every 60 seconds, creating a complete, redundant copy of all data in the secondary cloud. And all companies need to do to achieve this redundancy is purchase a second cloud object store. We’ll take care of the rest.

In the event of a primary cloud outage, all read and write operations to that cloud will be disabled. Operations will then fail over to the secondary cloud for read and write operations until the primary cloud is restored. Company operations can remain consistent with zero downtime or data loss. A global HA node will take over lock management and cache data locally, continuing to provide users with that local-feeling performance on a globally accessible file system. 

Once the primary object store is up and running again, data will automatically synchronize to both clouds to create a consistent data set. So, any data that was created or changed on the secondary cloud during the primary cloud outage will be updated on the primary cloud, allowing organizations to resume work on the primary cloud as if it was never down. 

Data-reliant organizations don’t have to accept a future full of cloud outages, disrupted workflows, and data loss. With cloud mirroring, company operations can resume as normal, no matter what happens to the primary cloud. Panzura empowers companies to control what is otherwise uncontrollable by making sure their data is always accessible.