As we embark upon a new year, perhaps with some optimism, it’s always a good idea to understand that there are some things that you can control and some you can’t. Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, there are things that happen that are out of your control.

This is especially true in the age of cloud computing where much of your operational capability may be run on someone else’s equipment. While the cloud companies are quite good at redundancy, sometimes stuff happens that can’t be prevented. Take for example last week, when CenturyLink experienced an issue that caused the 911 emergency call system to go down in parts of the US.

If a crucial system such as this is subject to the vagaries of a vendor, you can take some comfort in the fact — even if your clients might not be so sympathetic, and no matter who is at fault — that they hired you because they want a throat to choke when something goes wrong. For better or worse, you’re the throat.

Keeping it real

One thing you need to do, is set realistic expectations with a client. You will do your level best to keep them up and running, but even with the best of intentions and execution, there are going to be circumstances that are out of your hands, whether that’s weather-related or a vendor system going down.

When that happens, it’s your job to keep in touch with the vendor and figure out when the systems will be back up. You should keep communicating with your clients through any crisis and keep them abreast of what the situation is and when they can expect to be back up and running.

Always look at your SLAs with your providers and be sure that they adhere to the needs of your client, whatever that means for them. Some of your clients may simply prioritize uptime, but there could be other key factors that only you can understand based on what you know about your client’s requirements.

One of the beauties of cloud computing is that the major vendors take care of redundancy across regions. If there is a weather event that takes down one regional data center, another can take over. It works the same for your clients. Should they have to move physical locations for any reason, they can always access their crucial systems wherever they operate.

As we enter a new year, just remember you can’t control everything, and things will happen. You just have to be as prepared as you can for that eventuality.

Photo:  Ilkin Zeferli / Shutterstock.

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Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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