4 Tips to Avoid Parler's Cloud Disaster

January 2021

The recent squabble between Amazon and social media platform Parler has captured the attention of many companies who rely on a single technology provider to power their business. Amazon’s business cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services (AWS), recently de-platformed Parler from their cloud hosting service for what Amazon has claimed are violations of Amazon’s terms of service, effectively shutting Parler down.

Arguments about right or wrong here aside, many executives and managers are asking themselves what they would do if they ever had an unexpected interruption in service from their cloud provider. While Parler’s situation is certainly an outlier, interruptions can and do happen for a variety of reasons, and the risk of losing connectivity with critical infrastructure cannot be ignored.

In this article, we’ll cover a few steps you can take that can help you avoid an outcome like Parler’s, but first, a disclaimer. We’re not taking sides in the battle between Amazon Web Services and Parler. Let’s simply look at this situation through the lens of software experts who want to offer sound advice to help companies mitigate risk.

Here are a few action items to consider as you evaluate your own operations.

1. Make sure your cloud deployments are as automated as possible.

2. Use cloud agnostic components as much as possible.

3. Run test deployments to your backup cloud provider.

4. Add cloud provider redundancy to your risk assessment.

First, automating your cloud deployments enables you to switch cloud providers much faster and easier in the event you need to move service. Even if you are only moving your cloud service for cost savings, a speedy migration allows you to continue to serve your customers and stakeholders with limited disruption. In the case of Parler, if their own internal systems had used automation to plug in to Amazon Web Services, they could quickly and easily repoint those automations to a different cloud. Problem solved.  

Next, choosing components that can work with any cloud provider will reduce the risk of vendor lock-in. In short, build it so it can be deployed to another cloud, if necessary. For example, cloud providers often offer vendor-specific resources that can lock you in to their service. These resources deliver more convenience initially but reduce a company’s flexibility to change services. We recommend creating your own specific resources on the front end of your deployment to your cloud that will allow you to take your resources with you when you go.

Third, it’s a good idea to have multiple cloud partners in your back pocket in case you lose your primary. These partners may be other large cloud providers (Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud) or smaller cloud providers or data center partners. You may even consider an on-premises solution as a backup. Whichever route you take, always run test deployments to your backup providers so you’re not caught off guard if your primary goes down or terminates your service.

Lastly, make cloud provider redundancy a key pillar of your company’s technology risk assessment. Evaluate your infrastructure setup, risks, and options on a regular basis and adjust when change necessitates. Staying apprised of your specific situational requirements can help you sidestep disaster if your cloud connection becomes temporarily or permanently suspended.

Implementing these steps can help you guard against unexpected challenges that may arise with your cloud provider and keep your business and customers running without missing a stride. At B3, we build software solutions that provide the flexibility businesses need to avoid unnecessary disruptions to technology infrastructure. Over the course of 20 years, we developed the processes and automations needed to deploy applications to any cloud, anywhere, quickly. Hopefully, your business will never face a critical event like Parler has, but we can help ensure you are prepared if you do.

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