30th March 2017
IT solutions: It's a game of two halves

Own goal for cloud computing

Recent reports reveal that cloud computing is not the omnipotent IT solution that some industry pundits believed it would be. That is, cloud outages are beginning to show the cracks in all the marketing hype! We read in how the Amazon cloud storage outage is a stark reminder of the role humans still play in the delivery of the online services we have come to expect. Also, that when systems go down end-user patience wears thin, meaning it is often the IT professionals that get it in the ear.

We have all been there; your music or movie fails to stream properly so, while there are people slaving away behind the scenes to fulfil your over-inflated expectations in our must-have-it-now culture, you have a good old moan about how rubbish the system is on Twitter. This is illustrated best by Dave Hahn, a senior engineer at Netflix, here: “If any of you have ever monitored social media when there is an occasional Netflix outage, you’ll notice some people believe they’re going to die. I want to let you know, we checked and no-one has actually died”.

Dave’s was a tongue-in-cheek comment and it is worth remembering that most service failures are short-lived and rarely have much personal or business impact. However, there are occasions when interruption to services is lengthy and has greater implications such as the recent Microsoft email outage and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud storage outage.

The prolonged downtime of the latter revealed the throng of people who rely on its Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to support their online services and systems. The cause this time was as simple as an IT engineer making a typo when inputting a command, which then impacted a large number of servers. This could have just as easily been a machine malfunction that an IT technician would then be called in to put right. Yes, human error still plays a huge part in terms of both creating and fixing problems  but we only tend to acknowledge this when we are looking for a scapegoat and it becomes all too easy to point fingers, which rarely does anyone any favours.

The moral of the story is, if you create services that promise the earth and generate exaggerated expectations that need to be fulfilled at all costs you are setting yourself (and those who work for you) up for a fall. The marketing hype is all very well when things are going well but your adoring public will come down on you like a tonne of bricks at the first sign of inconvenience.

Is it time for boot camp?

According to TechTarget, when speaking at RSA Conference 2017, security expert Bruce Schneier highlighted the need for a new government agency that focuses on Internet of Things (IoT) regulation, his main point being that "the risks are too great, and the stakes are too high" to remain complacent.

The CTO of IBM Resilient described IoT security as a unique problem because manufacturers have produced many devices that are insecure and cannot be effectively patched. He went on to say: "New technologies need new expertise and new technologies need new controls. And this is something markets can't solve. Markets are, by definition, short-term profit-motivated. That's what they're supposed to do. They don't solve collective action problems."

While Schneier makes a good point, and does acknowledge that it may not be the best idea but is better than nothing, we have to remember that regulation was wholly unsuccessful for the car emission scandal so remain sceptical that regulation will work for IoT. Like Schneier, the Switch2IT team is unsure of the answer at this point.

What solutions does Switch2IT offer?

We offer IT solutions and darn good ones at that! Whether you are looking for one-off remote IT support, intermittent IT project management or an ongoing IT service contract to suit your business needs, Switch2IT can help.

Like us, IT service providers should make sure excellent customer service is their first priority. This philosophy has resulted in Switch2IT securing a steady surge of repeat business from our customers since 2005.

To find out more about our range of IT solutions and technical support services, contact us today.   

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