Microsoft Azure glitch knocks websites offline

Microsoft AzureAzure – Microsoft’s Cloud computing platform – has knocked many third-party websites offline, as well as disrupting the US firm’s own products, including Office 365.

Azure’s customers include Apple, Boeing, and eBay, but at the moment it looks like only smaller businesses have been affected.

Microsoft Azure, which  competes with the likes of Amazon Web Services, IBM, and Google Cloud computing products, will surely see this ‘glitch’ as a massive setback. They are currently in the middle of an expensive marketing campaign, screening their first Azure TV advert in the UK during the Scotland v. England soccer match last night.

Azure’s marketing materials guarantee that many of its services will be available 99.9% of the time.  It’s just unfortunate that this 0.01% chance outage happened right in the middle of its marketing campaign.

“It’s hugely disruptive”

Julian Ranger, founder of SocialSafe – one of the firms affected by the problem – spoke out about her experience:

“It’s hugely disruptive. There’s obviously an adverse impact when your whole website goes down – that’s where people expect to download and access our service… the point about Azure was that they guarantee that your site will always be up because there are multiple places, effectively, where your software can run. If there’s one problem, it should happily switch to run elsewhere.

“And that’s just not happening today – we’re completely out.”

Another firm, Viva Zorggroep – a Dutch healthcare organisation – said its 4,000 employees were unable to log into Microsoft Office 365, and had no access to email, calendars, or any other Office Online documents.

Glitches like these are going to happen

Of course, like anything, Cloud computing can never nor will ever be 100% fool-proof; glitches like these are going to happen.

With the many benefits that come with Cloud computing come great risks: data is held externally, and so business continuity and disaster recovery are in the hands of the provider.

The Global State of Information Security Survey (2014) found that only 18% of respondents had a policy governing Cloud services. A lack of policies for Cloud computing represents a serious security gap for businesses.

Above the Clouds -  Managing Risk in the World of Cloud ComputingCloud service providers (just like Microsoft Azure!) will tell you that Cloud computing is bound to be better, faster, and cheaper. The reality is that before switching over to Cloud computing, you need to think carefully about whether it will really work for your business. Above the Clouds – Managing Risk in the World of Cloud Computing shows you what you need to do to ensure that Cloud computing will continue to give the standard of service your customers require. It also offers some valuable tips on how to choose your provider of Cloud services.

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