WhatsApp, Spotify and Instagram outages highlight the danger of downtime
In light of the news that WhatsApp suffered downtime on a worldwide scale leaving millions of users without a connection, hours after similar outages suffered by both Spotify and Instagram, warnings have been made regarding the dangers of downtime to businesses.
Richard Agnew, VP NW EMEA, Veeam comments on the financial and reputational damage downtime can inflict on a business:
“Several of the world’s biggest, most popular consumer services have suffered downtime over the last few days, with Spotify, WhatsApp and Instagram outages sparking consumer rage via social media.
“Web-based businesses have an implicit – or, in many cases, explicit – obligation to be available 24.7.365, while their digital-savvy consumers increasingly demand constant access to their services. These real-time consumer apps in particular power countless businesses that rely on their digital platforms to deliver ad views and content to customers, and this sets the expectation of a service that will be always-on.
“While these outages may have been short-lived, they could still prove extremely costly – in both reputation and financial damage. Indeed, last week Veeam’s Availability Report revealed that unplanned outages cost UK businesses an average of £17.9m a year.
“This huge cost comes as nine in ten UK companies (90%) admitted to suffering an ‘Availability Gap’ between the level of service expected and what IT can actually deliver. It’s therefore clear that businesses are not realising the need to improve their data handling. Our findings are consistent with surveys from years past, in that nearly three quarters of respondents (72%) remain unable to protect their data frequently enough to ensure that their business units’ expectations against data loss are met.
“Instagram, WhatsApp and Spotify rely on highly scalable and resilient microservices to deliver their immediate services to customers, but these are not downtime proof. Indeed, these outages prove that even best-in-class IT systems run by the world’s biggest companies can suffer problems. Regardless of how scalable, resilient and distributed a system architecture is, anything that is software driven and underpinned by application logic has the potential to break and suffer downtime.
“With this in mind, it is imperative that businesses of all size and scale have an availability, protection and recoverability plan in place that remains separate to inbuilt logic. In today’s world, where consumers are enraged by downtime – as proved by the immediate complaints via Twitter – reputations are made or broken by ensuring services remain available around the clock.”
IT Employees Predict 90% Increase in Cloud Security Spending
As companies get back on their feet post-pandemic, they’re going all-in on cloud applications. In a recent report by Devo Technology titled “Beyond Cloud Adoption: How to Embrace the Cloud for Security and Business Benefits”, 81% of the 500 IT and security team members surveyed said that COVID accelerated their cloud timelines. More than half of the top-performing businesses reported gains in visibility. In fact, the cloud now outnumbers on-premise solutions at a 3:1 ratio.
But the benefits are accompanied by significant cybersecurity risks, as cloud infrastructure is more complex than legacy systems. Let’s dive in.
Why Are Cloud Platforms Taking Over?
According to Forrester, the public cloud infrastructure market could grow 28% over the next year, up to US$113.1bn. Companies shifting to remote work and decentralised workplaces find it easy to store and access information, especially as networks start to share more and more supply chain and enterprise information—think risk mitigation platforms and ESG ratings.
Here’s the catch: when you shift to the cloud, you choose a more complex system, which often requires cloud-native platforms for network security. In other words, you can’t stop halfway. ‘Only cloud-native platforms can keep up with [the cloud’s] speed and complexity” and ultimately increase visibility and control’, said Douglas Murray, CEO at cloud security provider Valtix.
Here’s a quick list of the top cloud security companies, as ranked by Software Testing Help:
What are the Security Issues?
Here’s the bad news. According to Accenture, less than 40% of companies have achieved the full value they expected on their cloud investments. All-in greater complexity has forced companies to spend more to hire skilled tech workers, analyse security data, and manage new cybersecurity threats.
The two main issues are (1) a lack of familiarity with cloud systems and (2) challenges with shifting legacy security systems to new platforms. Out of the 500 IT employees from Devo Technology’s cloud report, for example, 80% said they’d sorted 40% more security data, suffered from a lack of cloud security training, and experienced a 60% increase in cybersecurity threats.
How Will Companies React?
They certainly won’t stop investing in cloud platforms. Out of the 500 enterprise-level companies that Devo Technology talked to throughout North America and Western Europe, 90% anticipated a jump in cloud security spending in 2021. They’ll throw money at automating security processes and investing in security upskilling programmes.
After all, company executives will find it incredibly difficult to stick with legacy systems when some cloud-centred companies have found success. Since moving from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings to the cloud, Accenture has saved up to 70% on its processes; recently, the company announced that it would invest US$3bn to help its clients ‘realise the cloud’s business value, speed, cost, talent, and innovation benefits’.
The company stated: ‘Security is often seen as the biggest inhibitor to a cloud-first journey—but in reality, it can be its greatest accelerator’.