Earlier this week (on August 18th) Microsoft suffered outages and interruptions with its Windows Azure cloud computing platform, affecting several of Azure’s cloud services. Apparently a number of data regions around the globe were having simultaneous issues, and the problems lasted several hours before Microsoft was able to remedy the situation.

Microsoft has been having issues with Azure’s cloud services for the last few weeks, and in fact, sporadic outages have been occurring on their cloud services since they launched the platform several years ago. All of this should not come as a surprise. The truth is computers and computer systems fail. Whether you are talking about a laptop, a server, a supercomputer or cloud services, things can, and will, go wrong. Heck, we’re talking about IT here.

The real issue for small business owners and managers is to consider the efficiency and safety of cloud computing and hosted services versus those of more traditional in-house server-based IT solutions. We have always advised our clients that although cloud computing can be a significant opportunity for some businesses, it is not necessarily the best solution for all circumstances. Like any business decision, choosing to offload some or all of your IT services to the cloud should be assessed within the context of alternative solutions, and all the alternatives’ pros and cons. Only then can business owners make an informed and appropriate decision.

If you would like to learn more about the cloud, and if and how it can add value to your business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be glad to help. In the meantime, if it’s cloudy out there, don’t forget to bring an umbrella.