You know what no one ever talks about? Downtime. Why? Probably because it is boring. Or maybe it is because we don’t know enough to ask the right questions.
5 Culprits of SaaS System Downtime:
- Mother Earth/disaster
- Programmer “upgrade”/whoops
- User errors
- Incompatible hardware or software
What can we do to overcome these? Ask the right questions. Make sure that your provider has:
- Co-located facilities
- Regular system backups
- Robust security and encryption techniques in place
- Limited user access to crucial settings
- Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantees the system’s availability
That seems too simple. What are the right questions to ask?
- What is the average downtime statistics for the last four quarters? Please provide a copy of your standard Service Level Agreement (SLA).
- Describe your fail‐over ability and other contingency plans for hardware failure.
- Describe your application architecture in terms of database, logic, two‐tier vs. three‐tier, centralized vs. decentralized, etc.
- Describe how your company will logically and/or physically segregate our data from other customers and users.
- Do you have regular vulnerability/ penetration tests performed on your network? Please discuss with us the results and how issues were remediated.
- Do you have a defined incident response plan, if so, please provide a copy of the plan and how often it is tested? Please describe how you communicate an incident or breach affecting customer data to appropriate customer management. Does your plan include remedies for incidents including but not limited to data breaches, unexpected data loss, unexpected system downtime, pandemic, and natural disasters.