I think there are three classes of outages you have to be worried about:
1. Local internet interruption: your local ISP is having downtime, and
you're unable to access your cloud data (or anything on the internet, for
To mitigate the impact of this kind of outage, I recommend installing a
secondary internet connection (provided by a different provider than your
primary internet connection, of course) in your office. There are even
routers that will automatically fail over to your secondary provider if
your primary provider fails.
This is a cheap $50-100/month insurance policy that virtually guarantees an
internet outage won't impact you.
I also recommend activating tethering on your iPhone, BB or Android device
- this is another cheap way to make sure you have backup internet access,
and the access it affords while you're on the road is something you'll
never be able to give up once you get used to having it.
2. Temporary provider outage: your cloud provider is having a temporary
outage, and you're unable to access data from that specific cloud provider.
You can do a few things to prevent this from happening in the first place,
and a few things you can do to mitigate any impact such an outage might
First, when you're selecting a cloud provider as for their last 6-12 months
of historical uptime, as provided by an independent third-party monitoring
service such as Pingdom. As with most things in life, the best predictor of
future performance is past performance. Look for uptime of at least 99.9%,
which equates to downtime of about 40 minutes per month. In my opinion
scheduled downtime should be included in the downtime calculation as well
(some providers exclude this from their downtime calculation). As an end
user you don't care if downtime is scheduled or not.
To mitigate the impact of a provider outage, do your best to have key data
with the provider synchronized either locally or to an alternate cloud
provider. Dropbox, for example, has a "built-in" backup thanks to the fact
that your files are all stored both locally and in the cloud. Taking Clio
as another example, you can synchronize key data like your calendar and
tasks to either Microsoft Outlook or Google, which you could access in the
event Clio is inaccessible.
3. Permanent cloud provider outage: your cloud provider has gone bankrupt
or has otherwise suffered from a significant business continuity issue;
other causes could be the cloud provider has been acquired by a larger
company who later shuts down the service (e.g. Etherpad, Aardvark - both
acquired and later shut down by Google).
This can be avoided to some degree by undertaking an appropriate amount of
due diligence before selecting a cloud provider, but realistically there
are factors at work way beyond your (and the cloud provider's) control that
could potentially result in a cloud provider being shut down. If you're
worried about worst-case scenarios, this is a eventuality you should
Like in scenario 2, you can mitigate the impact of such a shutdown by both
synchronizing and backing up key data from the cloud provider. Make sure
your cloud provider offers you the ability to export all of your key data
in an open, non-proprietary format such as CSV or XML. If you have to move
away from that provider for any reason, you can use data in this format to
migrate to another provider.
There's also the option of "Data Escrow." This is something we developed in
Clio's early days to address this concern - with Data Escrow we
automatically replicate your Clio data to a completely independent
third-party data provider. We're still proud of this innovation and a
decent number of our users use the feature as an extra "safety net" for
their data. You can read more about it here:
Hope that helps!
CEO and Founder
Clio - Practice Management Simplified
1-888-858-2546 x5 | j...
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