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AWS Managed Services:

Manage the Financial Impact of Downtime & Cyber Attacks

Did you know that it takes most companies over 200 days to detect a data breach?

And, did you also know that only 2% of organizations are able to recover from system downtime within an hour? The rest can wait up to nearly five hours to get back up and running.

When you consider that just 60 minutes of downtime can cost a business up to $300,000 and that data breaches or cyber-attacks can cost a company, on average, around $133,000, you can understand why organizations need a solution that can control potential downtime and reduce the threat of cybercrime.

For many companies, managing this risk involves hundreds of employees on staff dedicated to preventing such system failures, but for others, the cost of that level of staffing is simply too high.

This is where high-grade Managed Service Providers like AWS Managed Services (AMS), which help you manage your cloud infrastructure more cost-effectively and securely, come in.  

Want to know more? Keep reading to find out:

  • How AWS really works & why it works so well
  • What AWS Managed Services are
  • Why AWS risk can be expensive to manage
  • How to control AWS oversight costs with AWS Managed Services (AMS)

Let’s get started.

How AWS really works & why it works so well

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In simple terms, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an all-in-one solution that provides millions of businesses with pay-as-you-go access to over 200 cloud computing products and services such as servers, storage, analytics, remote computing, mobile development, and security.

Organizations rent access to these AWS cloud computing products and services on a need-by-need basis. This means that they don’t have to set up their own data centres, storage spaces or cloud computing infrastructures and they only have to pay for what they need when completing tasks like these:  

  • Creating cloud-native applications
  • Testing and building applications
  • Storing, backing up, analyzing, and recovering data
  • Streaming video and audio
  • Embedding intelligence into operations
  • Delivering software on a global scale

It’s kinda like utility companies in the 1900s. Back then, if a factory needed electricity, they’d build their own power plant. But, when public utilities became a thing, factories started to buy electricity from them instead because it was easier, cheaper and quicker than generating their own.  

AWS is like a public utility that’s slowly moving businesses away from building and owning their own physical computing storage facilities and infrastructures, to a pay-as-you-go, cloud-based solution that has no upfront cost.

But, there are two quite significant downfalls to any sort of cloud hosting, including AWS, that have the potential to create a massive financial impact for their clients, sometimes without warning. These downfalls include:

  • Downtime
  • Cybersecurity breaches

This brings us, quite nicely, back to the point of this article and how AWS Managed Services could be the solution to preventing extraordinary financial liability, brought on by downtime and cyber attacks, without incurring high employee overhead.

What AWS Managed Services are

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But, before we go any further, I have to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

There are two types of AWS Managed Services that you might have heard about: There’s AWS Managed Services and then there are AWS managed services.

I know. It’s confusing.

What are AWS managed services?  

AWS uses the generic ‘managed service’ term to refer to non-server products and services. They are managed services that are cloud features that you can use without concerning yourself with any hardware administration. For example, database services like RDS and Lambda are referred to as ‘AWS managed services’.

But, they also have a separately branded offering called "AWS Managed Services" (AMS)...

What are AWS Managed Services (AMS)?  

Amazon also uses the term AWS Managed Services (AMS) to refer to value-added consulting services.

AWS Managed Services (AMS) is a collection of services and software for Amazon Web Services implementations that automate infrastructure management tasks. We’ll go into a couple of these later but the idea is AWS Managed Services (AMS) will leverage your AWS services and a growing library of automations, configurations, and run books to manage your AWS infrastructure and help you fulfil your day to day requirements in a cost-effective way.

AWS Managed Services (AMS) is where you basically outsource specific processes and functions to enhance business operations and reduce expenses.

“AWS Managed Services (AMS) helps you operate your AWS infrastructure more efficiently and securely.”

- Amazon, AWS Managed Services

Now we’ve got that confusion cleared up, let’s get back on topic and talk about...

Why AWS risk can be expensive to manage

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We mentioned earlier that AWS, and cloud hosting in general, has two major pitfalls that can expose a company to significant financial risk. These are:

  • Downtime
  • Cybersecurity breaches

Let’s look at each of these pitfalls to establish how and why they can often create cost catastrophes for many companies.

The cost of downtime when using AWS  

What could be worse than having your largest client’s daily operations put on pause due to your sudden system failure?

With the average cost of IT downtime coming in at $5,600 per minute, it’s easy to see why system downtime can blow up a business’ budget in seconds.

There’s a general perception that AWS is more immune to downtime than other solutions. But you only have to Google “AWS downtime” to see that downtime is a common occurrence when using AWS. And it’s affected so many gaming platforms like Playstation, Twitch, and Halo and so many major websites including Hulu, QuickBooks, and even Amazon.com itself.

In fact, it was only a month or so ago that we saw AWS servers go down three times in as many weeks.

“The latest AWS outage began around 4am PT/12pm GMT on December 22, with more than a thousand incident reports flagged”

- TechRadar, AWS Went Down Hard, Yet Again

And, Amazon Web Services have also claimed the title for causing the most expensive downtime on record.

Back in 2017, an employee made a fatal mistake that took down a large number of websites that were hosted on AWS, for FOUR HOURS. And they weren't any old websites either. They were the websites of the Fortune 500 and some of the biggest financial companies.

The downtime racked up losses of over $160 million.

The cost of cyber crime breaches when using AWS

The costs associated with a cyber security breach are eye-watering and have risen from $3.86 million to $4.24 million just over the last year alone.

And again, you only have to type “AWS security breaches” into Google to see that cyber crime is rife amongst those that use AWS.

Ok, ok, I'm being slightly unfair: Cyber security breaches can happen to anyone that handles data, regardless of which provider you use or the type of infrastructure you have in place.

“With the agility of the cloud, enterprises are able to accelerate the go-to-market time for their solutions, rapidly iterate on its existing offerings, and adopt new technologies with ease [...] but with this advanced technology available [...] cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and intense.”

- Wipro, Overcoming AWS Cloud Security Challenges

But still, some of the worst security breaches have happened on Amazon’s watch. For instance, 3.3 million Volkswagen & Audi records, stored within AWS, were put up for sale online because they were left vulnerable to hackers. Logically, your data’s security is only as strong as the controls you put in place to protect it. Simply placing the data on AWS servers isn’t enough.

Controlling AWS costs with AWS Managed Services (AMS)

As we discovered earlier, AWS Managed Services (AMS) helps you operate your AWS infrastructure more efficiently and securely.

But how does it do that? And, more specifically, how does it help organizations control the costs associated with downtime and cyber security breaches?

How AWS Managed Services controls downtime costs

AWS Managed Services monitors the logs and metrics of your AWS resources, regions and accounts 24x7 to detect performance issues. If they receive a warning about a drop in performance, they have automated processes and technical support experts in place, ready to bring your resources back to normal. They then establish what went wrong and relay that back to you, so it doesn’t happen again.

“AWS Managed Services tracks correlates and investigates alerts to ensure the incidents are detected and resolved proactively. All operating logs are aggregated and maintained by AWS Managed Services.”

- Xenber, Understanding AWS Managed Services

Plus AWS Managed Services also takes care of all patching and backup activities to help keep your resources up-to-date and effective. They work with you to prepare for and respond to any planned outages or maintenance work that might affect your business and automate backups using Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) and RDS which can help to restore any data that’s lost in the event of a failure or outage.

The proactive operational monitoring processes and the responsive incident investigation and resolution tactics that AWS Managed Web Services offer, will keep your infrastructure robust and any unexpected downtime to a minimum.

How AWS Managed Services can control cyber crime costs

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AWS Managed Services both protects your cloud infrastructure and prevents against cyber attacks by managing security policies with anti-malware protection, intrusion detection, and intrusion prevention systems that can identify and respond to any type of cyber attack quickly.

They have automated processes and cloud security experts in place to monitor, analyze, and perform regular scans of your AWS infrastructure to identify software vulnerabilities and to also detect if it isn’t aligned with best security practices.

This helps to avoid any harmful (and costly) cyber attacks

The AWS costs that AWS Managed Services doesn’t manage

At its core, AWS Managed Services offers you access to experts and automations that provide technical services. But AWS Managed Services does not offer financial expertise to make sense of your AWS spending.

If you’re looking for consulting assistance in understanding and managing your regular AWS usage spend, the alternative to consider is Aimably.

Aimably is a platform that helps you understand and manage the unpredictable costs that come with using AWS. On top of that, Aimably offers consulting services to help technical teams and finance teams work together to reach their budget goals.

For instance, Aimably Warn will monitor your specific AWS cloud environment and as soon as it detects a possible rise in costs, it alerts you so you can put steps in place to mitigate the issue and control those costs. Or Aimably Insight which helps you track sources of AWS spend so you can upgrade, downgrade, or put measures in place to improve security or downtime problems, if that’s where your overspend is coming from.

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