In February, Microsoft Teams experienced a few hours of unexpected downtime, and this raised concerns about the effect that cloud services going down can have on a business.
Microsoft Teams is replacing Skype for Business as the main means of communicating tool for Office 365 users, so users need the service to be reliable. Cloud services going down, however, is not an issue confined to Microsoft. Teams’ main rival Slack has also had periods when the service was not available, and Amazon Web Services has been known to experience outages too.
Non-cloud service outages
If a business is deterred from signing up to cloud services because of fear that they may not be able to access their data on occasions, it is worth remembering the drawbacks of non-cloud computing.
Firstly, there is the issue of the power supply. Many areas of Britain still face the occasional failure of the electricity grid. No matter where your data is stored, without power, it cannot be accessed.
Some businesses store data on individual workers’ hard drives. A laptop often has all the data an employee needs on the hard drive, with regular backups saved to a plugged-in external drive. Many businesses leave the external drive plugged into the laptop, especially if it is a Mac using the disk as a Time Machine one. Sadly, if there is a break-in, burglars have the annoying habit of stealing both the laptop and the external drives, leaving workers without all their data.
In-house servers are frequently used as ways to store data for all employees. These are often backed up on tape or other media. Unless the backups are stored off premises, a fire can potentially destroy all data.
The point is that all systems are subject to risk, and periods when data is not available. The main plus point of cloud services is that, although there have been outages, no data is permanently lost. On-premises data storage solutions can be adequate if they are fool-proof, but data can still get lost.
So far, the number of times that cloud services have gone down is minimal and companies like Microsoft and Amazon work hard to make sure that their systems are robust.
Another issue is security – how secure are cloud servers? The answer is that they are probably more secure than a company’s on-site servers. Data is safer in the cloud than on premises.
Most businesses have a website, and websites are easier to hack than data on OneDrive or Google Drive. On-premises data will typically suffer more hacker attacks than that held off-premises.
There may be occasions in the future when Microsoft Teams servers are down, which is certainly an issue, but one that is yet to be substantial. At WM Reply we believe the advantages of cloud services like Office 365 outweigh any disadvantages. In-house solutions are not able to provide the advanced sharing and collaboration features that Microsoft apps provide. If you’d like to learn more about how cloud-based solutions could help your business, get in touch.