Amazon's fall from the cloud

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23 April 2011
Bart Narter
Amazon's cloud computing offering went down, bringing lots of other dot.coms down with it. I have never been a huge fan of cloud computing, as I explained in a previous blog post, Cloud or Fog? My concerns have always been around security. If you don't know on which server or in which data center your data is stored, how can you be certain that it is secure? Additionally, cloud has SLAs and meets them. Amazon offers an SLA of 99.9% Is that good enough for banks? Not being able to access reddit.com or groupme.com is unfortunate, but not tragic. Not being able to access your bank is rather a bigger issue. I doubt most banks would settle for three nines. My take on the cloud for banking has always been that banks are held to a higher standard, both in terms of security and availability. A breach in either will lead to massive reputational risk. That's why when banks go to "the cloud" they do so using service bureaus or shared data centers that have higher security and availability than required by the typical dot.com. Having said that, if amazon.com is down for an hour, consequences are enormous. Banks have outages as well, so let's not pretend we are perfect. We do need to be closer to perfection than the average cloud consumer, and until that reality changes, I'd stick with the service bureau or shared data center for mission critical applications.

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