NetworkWorld

Kyle York

4 ways to avoid cloud outages and improve system performance

When most people encounter headlines about high-profile cloud outages, they think about the cloud vendor’s name, or how the negative publicity might affect stock prices. I think about the people behind the scenes – the ones tasked with fixing the problem and getting customer systems back up and running.

Despite their best efforts, the occasional outage is inevitable. The internet is a volatile place, and nobody is completely immune to this danger. Fortunately, there are some straightforward steps businesses can take to guard against the possibility of unplanned downtime.

Here are four ways to avoid cloud outages while improving security and performance in the process:

1. Adopt a multi-location or multi-cloud environment

Businesses that spread workloads across multiple locations or cloud providers add redundancy and resiliency, and they greatly reduce the risk of downtime. But that’s just one of the benefits of adopting a “multi” IT environment. This approach also provides greater flexibility and empowers enterprises to quickly adapt to changing business needs.

Seek out cloud providers with data centers in various locations who spread workloads across geographies. A multi-location strategy can increase performance by geographically distributing traffic to the region closest to the end-user. It can also drastically reduce the chances of unplanned downtime. If one data center goes down due to human error, malware, fire, or natural disaster, your workloads will safely failover to another location.

Multi-cloud can also improve interoperability across IT environments. Suppose you need to link a legacy, on-premises system with a cloud platform in such a way that allows bi-directional data flow. A multi-cloud business can choose the cloud offering that works best with that system, as opposed to being forced to choose a single cloud platform that may not play well with that system. We’d love to think that all clouds are fully open and interoperable with every system, but that’s simply not the case.

2. Keep an eye on internet traffic patterns

Your business depends heavily on internet traffic to websites and applications. If you think about it, the internet is essentially becoming an extension of your own internal network. That’s why it makes sense to monitor the global internet for outages, security problems, and latency. When problems are detected, businesses can take steps to mitigate problems before they lead to loss of revenue.

The first step to take when users complain about website slowness or application latency is to run traceroutes to determine whether the problem is in internal systems, or if the holdup is the result of something happening out there on the internet. If the problem is on the internet, the right traffic steering solution and regional deployment can help you reroute traffic, improve performance, and keep customers happy.

Another step you can take to monitor the health of the global internet is to consult Oracle’s Internet Intelligence Map. It’s a free resource designed to let users know how things like natural disasters, government-imposed internet shutdowns, Internet Service Provider (ISP) degradation, and fiber-optic cable cuts affect internet traffic across the globe.

3. Make cloud security a priority

The internet is vast and full of opportunity. But it also opens up avenues for hackers to exploit web security vulnerabilities and steal information from backend servers and databases. Today, many organizations implement and manage their web presence in the cloud. As a result, websites and internet-facing applications may not be fully protected behind corporate firewalls. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider cloud-based web application security.

Web application firewalls (WAFs) and complimentary cloud-based solutions can help defend your organization against a host of threats, including malicious bots, DDoS attacks, API attacks, and malware uploads. The right cloud-based WAF and DDoS protection solution can help prevent dangerous internet traffic from reaching web and application servers and your network.

Businesses that regularly evaluate web application security levels can stay one step ahead of malicious hackers. When shopping for cloud security solutions, be sure to look for vendor-agnostic platforms that will easily scale with future business plans, regardless of infrastructure endpoint.

4. Build an intelligent network edge

Speed, performance, and security are crucial to ensuring that customers have a positive experience when visiting your business’s website or accessing its cloud-based applications. But cloud outages, cybersecurity threats, and human error can delay traffic to your site – or worse – shut it down completely.

Businesses can mitigate these risks and improve performance by proactively managing the tools and technologies that govern and secure access to internet or cloud-facing assets. It’s never been more important to have a secure, intelligent, and redundant network edge.

The process of building an intelligent network edge begins with the right domain name service (DNS). Global DNS availability and performance are essential to ensuring high-quality user experiences. However, many businesses continue to depend on a single DNS solution that’s often managed in-house and lacks scale, resiliency, and redundancy.

Enterprises can improve reliability, performance, and security by adding cloud DNS services to IT environments. Additionally, a redundant or secondary DNS will increase resiliency at the DNS layer. If the primary DNS suffers an outage or slowness, the redundant DNS will remain operational. The secondary DNS also helps businesses deliver more consistent and higher-quality experiences for users all over the world.

Visit CenturyLink.com for more information on how the right cloud solution can improve your IT performance.

This article was written by Kyle York from NetworkWorld and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.