cloud uptime

Choose your cloud provider carefully: A discussion about uptime

Uptime is a crucial part of running a successful business, especially as companies focus more and more on cloud applications. Losing access to their cloud functionality effectively shuts down the business and can cost thousands of dollars if it happens regularly. Businesses must ensure that they’re partnering with high-quality cloud service providers to ensure long-term success.

When searching for cloud service providers, follow these tips to find the highest uptime rates.

Understand the cost of downtime

All too often, companies think about their business connections in terms of downtime: we all notice when systems aren’t available and how inconvenient that is. But instead of focusing on how often a network might go down, it’s important for companies to shift the focus and start asking cloud providers about uptime – the amount of time cloud services are fully functional and available.  

The first step in discussing the necessity of uptime is to understand the cost of downtime. According to a survey reported by TechRepublic, 80% of businesses insist on 99.99% uptime from their service providers, and 15% of businesses are pushing further to demand 99.999% uptime. This high availability uptime (sometimes called “five nines”) means that systems will be available for all but 5 minutes a year, saving a company several hundred thousand dollars annually. Small and medium-sized companies are often working with a fairly limited budget so few can afford to lose that kind of money.

Look for transparency

Potential cloud service providers should be willing to share information with you. For example, the way the company computes downtime may not be as simple as you think. For example, a company might calculate downtime by minutes available per user. In a system with 100 users, for example, 99.99% uptime could mean that a system is down for several hours before a company receives service credit.  

Cloud service providers should be using monitoring software to track issues and problems with their service. They should be willing to share that information with their partner companies, giving – at the bare minimum – the ability to run reports.  

Consider the contract terms

In general, it’s a good idea to partner with any vendor long enough to establish a solid knowledge base and get a feel for their service. Standard service contract periods are designed to ensure that provider companies can properly budget resources and that client businesses can budget for recurring costs.

That said, knowing the conditions for exiting your contract is important. Being trapped for too long with a service provider who cannot satisfy your needs, delivers inconsistently or costs the company time and money can be a disaster for any business.

Ask the provider what terms allow either party to cancel the agreement. Also, always read the Ts and Cs (terms and conditions) of any contract signed. If the provider promises something different, get that in writing as an addendum or change order. Contact your managed IT services provider for help finding and implementing the right cloud solution for your business.