Five High Profile Cloud-Based Failures

Five High Profile Cloud-Based Failures

Five High Profile Cloud-Based Failures

For those who visit CloudTweaks on a regular basis know that we try to remain as neutral as possible in our coverage related to Cloud Computing. With all the tremendous upside, there is however the inevitable downside. Sadly, nothing is failsafe. When cloud services go offline or software and websites fail it can result in huge problems for the users who rely on them to conduct their day-to-day activities. For businesses it can mean lost revenues, lost clients, and lost reputation – the International Working Group on Cloud Computing Resiliency (IWGCR) believes downtime at 13 well-known cloud services has cost the economy more than $71.7 million dollars since 2007.

Earlier this week Adobe’s online login system failed, resulting in its users being unable to log into the Creative Cloud suite and at least one national newspaper being unable to publish its online editions. Here we take a look at some of the most high profile failures of recent years…

Adobe’s Security Breach

Adobe is no strange to cloud services going awry. Back in October last year they suffered a major security breach, with final figures suggesting that as many as 38 million accounts had been compromised. It marked an embarrassing u-turn for the company, who originally claimed the attack only affected 3 million users.

The attackers gained access to Adobe IDs, encrypted customer credit card records, and login data as the full range of Adobe’s software was compromised.

After the attack Adobe made the seemingly positive gesture of offering the affected users a year’s worth of credit monitoring, only to stumble into another PR disaster. It was revealed the monitoring was provided by Experian – a company that was still recovering from a security breach in which the company was tricked into selling consumer records directly to an online identity theft service.

Knight Capital

A cloud-based automatic stock-trading software – what could possibly go wrong? Described as a “meltdown waiting to happen by the New York Post, Knight Capital’s automated software was based on an incorrect algorithm which cost the firm a staggering $440 million in just forty five minutes. The incorrectly programmed software bought stocks at the market price resulting in several billion dollars of unwanted positions, before selling at the bid price for less money.

The error wiped 75 percent off Knight Capital’s equity value, and in the fallout from the incident they were fined $12 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Eventually they had to sell their business to algorithmic trading company GETCO for a mere $3.75 per share.

Microsoft’s Windows Azure

In February 2013 Windows Azure suffered an outage for a mammoth twelve hours, with all attempts at secure access timing out as unavailable. At the same time other Microsoft services such as Xbox Live, Xbox Music, and Xbox Video all suffered with issues, as users were unable to access cloud-connected data or utilise any multimedia content tied to the products.

What could have caused such a lengthy outage that would adversely affect individuals and businesses around the world? An expired SSL certificate apparently – leaving Microsoft truly embarrassed.

Healthcare.gov

Whether you agree with Obama’s Affordable Care Act or not, few can argue that the launch of the policy’s much-vaunted website was anything other than a massive failure.

Costing $630 million, the website was beset with problems from the outset. With 2.8 million visitors on the first day alone, many users were unable to buy healthcare coverage due to website glitches and miscalculated federal subsidies. Some users in California reported waiting in a virtual queue for up to four hours to create an account, only for the website to inform them that the sign-up was unavailable.

Amazon

In January last year Amazon went offline for an hour. Not Amazon Web Services, which has been known to have occasional outages, but the main homepage of the web-shopping giant.

Contrary to initial reports, a denial of service attack was not responsible – instead the company blamed an internal error – it didn’t sound like a major issue. At least not until industry experts calculated that one hour offline had cost the company an eye-watering $5 million in lost revenues.

What are some high-profile cloud outages or software failures that have affected you? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

About Daniel Price

Daniel is a Manchester-born UK native who has abandoned cold and wet Northern Europe and currently lives on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. A former Financial Consultant, he now balances his time between writing articles for several industry-leading tech (CloudTweaks.com & MakeUseOf.com), sports, and travel sites and looking after his three dogs.

View Website
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Security In The IoT The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago.…

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Password Challenges  Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…