It’s one of the greatest fears of managers who are considering moving to the cloud: an office full of employees, customers standing by, and a major crash that prevents access to data.
We’ve all witnessed being without electricity for a few minutes. But when that turns into hours or even days, you quickly realize how dependent we are.
Our data is a little different. We’re aware of what it means to our business. Cloud-based applications are still new enough that we understand the vulnerabilities. If our data is online and it’s down, what would we do?
And it’s not just the Internet. If all of your data is on G Suite and it went AWOL for a day, how would you operate? It’s not as unrealistic as some would assume.
It could be a costly experience. According to one IDC estimate, the average total cost of unplanned application downtime per year is between $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion for Fortune 1000 companies.
Like all other IT issues, the difference between operating successfully on the Internet and experiencing these downtime issues is having a plan in place. The key is not in thinking about what would happen if the unthinkable happens, it’s being prepared for it instead.
Start with a contingency plan
For every application you use in your business, you should have an alternative option. That means if you rely on G Suite for your sales presentation, you should have a backup method for accessing it on-site or on a hard drive.
For some programs, keeping backup copies in different forms is easy to do. It makes sense. But not all applications are that easy. When you’re working with third-party programs, you’re dependent not only on the Internet service, but also on the reliability of the third-party. You are very dependent on the provider and the contingency plan they have in place.
If you think about it before it happens, you can consider different options before the unthinkable happens. Sometimes it might involve finding different connections, or moving to a location where Wi-Fi is in place. You can always have some element in local storage, such as syncing with Dropbox.
Check premium apps for offline sync
Why should you upgrade to premium programs? In many cases, it’s for the feature of being able to access your data anytime. Before you start relying on a free app, consider the premium option carefully. Many of them have offline modes that allow you to keep working with the program no matter if you’re online or not. Once you return to a connection, the program will automatically sync and upload any new content you’ve added since the last update.
G Suite, for instance, has the ability to allow document creation and editing offline with transparent syncing of files when you’re connected. It’s all performed on the fly as you move to various locations. This same offline feature is also built into mobile applications, giving you the same accessibility and user experience no matter if you’re working on a laptop, tablet, or phone.
Provide training to your staff
Because cloud-based applications are still new in the work environment, your employees may not know about cloud-based functionality. Just because they are proficient in Microsoft Word, for instance, doesn’t mean they understand how Google Docs operates. Yes, they have the basic wordprocessing skills down, but they also need to understand the functionality of operating in both offline and online modes.
This is where IT plays a major role. An IT consultant should be able to help you select apps and services that offer the right benefits for your company, and help bring your entire staff up to speed. That means ensuring everyone understands how to operate in every situation, even when access to the Internet is anything but perfect.
What is your contingency plan for when you don’t have Internet access?