When Amazon Web Services suffered its high-profile cloud outage in April, the company was not prepared. Other big-name properties like Reddit and Foursquare were caught off guard as well.

While the cloud is being touted as this magical commodity that lets you store your data where you want without all the hassle, the fact is you lose a lot in control and security. You learn this lesson pretty quickly when your cloud service goes down. Smart IT managers are prepared for possible outages.

Stan Klimoff, Director of Cloud Services for Grid Dynamics, talks about how companies should prepare for cloud outages.

1. Institute disaster drills. This gives a good understanding of the weak points of the system, as well as prepares the staff to face a real disaster.
2. Design for failure. Follow the rule that everything that can fail, will fail. This will help your team better prepare for possible outages. Designing for failure is an expensive engineering practice, but it definitely pays off in the end.
3. Have a “Plan B.” You have to be able to take your stuff and move away from an ISP within hours. Design your system to avoid vendor lock-ins.
4. Know your Service Level Agreements. The recent cloud outage that Amazon experienced was actually caused by the EBS (Elastic Block Store) service, which has the stated availability on par with the one of a local disk. No one should trust a single local disk with a critical database.