No cloud service provider (CSP) can ever claim to offer 100 per cent uptime. Those that do are simply employing marketing tactics that are dishonest and unhelpful.

The latest figures from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) show that cloud adoption is higher than ever, with 69 per cent of UK organisations now adopting at least one cloud based service. As adoption rises, organisations taking their first steps into cloud services need assurances from CSPs that their business can remain operational in the event of an outage.

CSPs are responding to increased demand by advertising 100 per cent uptime, in the hope of gaining competitive advantage. In reality these claims are simply damaging the industry.

Despite what many CSPs promise, SLAs at 100 per cent are simply not achievable. Organisations look for assurances from prospective CSPs, guaranteeing them the highest levels of uptime possible. Naturally, prospective customers will be drawn to providers offering the highest SLAs and, on paper, 100 per cent is unbeatable.

This year I’ve seen a number of examples of CSPs offering 100 per cent SLAs and then, rather publicly, experiencing outages. This is highly damaging to the industry’s reputation, and contributes to a lack of trust in these already intangible ‘cloud’ services. To ensure against this we need to set realistic targets for uptime.

Ultimately, customers want honesty. Every organisation, at some point, will experience downtime. Regardless of how small this might be, it needs to be accounted for. Organisations need to to work out realistic SLAs that they are confident they can deliver on.

100 per cent uptime usually translates as 99.99 per cent or 99.9999 per cent. The difference may seem minimal, but it could be the difference between 52 minutes of downtime per year against five minutes. If it’s marketed though at 100 per cent; the customer would be non-the-wiser.

I’d implore organisations to be extremely cautious of any CSP offering 100 per cent SLAs. Put simply, companies are paying out for a service that is unachievable.