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Cloud Risk: Placing all of your eggs in one basket

Posted by Patrick Snyder
Patrick Snyder
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on Monday, 08 August 2011
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It's 2a.m on a Monday, the workweek starts in 6 hours, and your cloud service provider just notified you that their services are down. What do you do?

This is the same question European consumers were asking themselves when Amazon's EC2 cloud services and Microsofts BPOS cloud services were taken out by a lightening strike in Dublin early this week.

Despite a proper disaster recovery and business continuity plan developed by these cloud providers, things do not always go as smoothly as they look on paper. Amazon has backup generators that should have powered up in perfect synchronization to cover the power loss however, the lightening strike was so substantial it knocked out the phase control system which synchronizes the power loads. Thus the backup generators had to be powered up and load managed manually resulting in a noticeable outage for customers.

This is something for cloud services consumers to keep in mind. You have been reminded time and time again during security training that proper cloud integration involves strict audits of your cloud service provider. These audits are sure to include disaster recovery and business continuity planning procedures. Having all this on paper is only one half of the equation for effective system resilience and reliability, the implementation of those procedures under pressure is the true test of recovery performance.

This brings us to what many IT security professionals see as the most important aspect of disaster planning, having a backup. This can include file backups, virtual image backups, and even fully operational system backups (what many of us recognize as "hot sites").  Most cloud service providers will offer you extensive features to include many of these protection services. Although bundling them all into the same provider may be more convenient it can also lead to further disaster in times of peril.

As we have seen by the abundance of cloud outages so far this year, bad things do happen to cloud services. The cloud will go down. This brings an increased importance to third party services to keep you running while your main cloud service provider gets back on their feet again. Just as it isn't smart to "put all of your eggs in one basket," it probably isn't a good idea to place all of your computing power and resources in the hands of one provider.

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Egyptian Outage Calls For Rapid Innovation

Posted by Patrick Snyder
Patrick Snyder
Patrick Snyder has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 01 February 2011
in MyBlog


Egypt has pulled the plug. This topic has been overtaking our news feeds this past week. It's time we take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of this situation.


In fear that social networking will allow protestors the opportunity to further organize their anti-government demonstration, the Egyptian government has ordered all internet services to shut down.


ISP services have disabled all wired communications. As of yesterday morning the final ISP service went down. What is surprisingly scary is how quickly these services can be shut down by an ISP. In a matter of minutes these companies can alter national router hub configurations and blackout the entire country. 


Will there be any light at the end of this dark tunnel? I guess you could assume no internet service, no internet security breaches, but then again, you can't. 


Without internet connectivity tech workers in Egypt are left with nearly nothing to do (except for a game or two of solitaire). Imagine if General Motors halted their automobile manufacturing, no cars, no work. Many companies that outsource to Egypt are also feeling the tension from the outage. Microsoft is threatening to pull out many of its services that they rely on Egypt's tech community to maintain. Egypt is slowly loosing its grip on the technology forefront. Not to mention the political unrest it is causing with many foreign policy leaders.


In making the best out of a bad situation, we may see some good come out of this in the world of technology innovation.


With the mobile phone towers kicking back on, Google has had the opportunity to push its voice services towards a new purpose. Tweet by voice, possible thanks to Google's recent purchase of the SayNow service. In a service which Google has "hacked" together, users are able to leave voicemails on designated international "speek-to-tweet" hotlines. These voicemails will then be posted to twitter with an #egypt tag. Quite the innovation considering it took Google only a few days to implement.


Users are also going to the sky for wireless connectivity. Ad-hoc networks are cropping up all over the country as users attempt any means of staying connected to each other. 


Though the events of the past week have had many devastating effects they are also striking up a surprising amount of innovation and adaptation in the technology world. This abrupt change has made voice communication and mobile networking a top priority. This could potentially push these two concepts to a whole new level never before seen by our generation.


Even an internet outage cannot stop the advancement of technology. Desperate times call for desperate measures.


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