Do you know where your credit union’s cloud is?

Ah, snow days. Depending on your age, stage in life, and where you live, that term can conjure up many emotions. Earlier this month, the internet delivered for millions their own version of a snow day when Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage. So major in fact, the term “internet snow day” quickly took over the main theme of memes for the week. It also quickly made credit unions question the true security and reliability of the cloud… and more importantly made credit union c-suites question WHERE their cloud is.

On 2/28/17, at approximately 12:30 pm ET, and lasting close to five hours, the Amazon Web Service S3 cloud storage service experienced an outage that knocked out access to websites and apps that run on AWS, including but not limited to Expedia, Slack, even the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In fact, the S3 system that was knocked out is used by 148,213 sites, and, “north of three to four trillion pieces of data stored in it” according to market research firm SimilarTech. The outage even temporarily affected the AWS service health dashboard, which displays outages and events!

One outcome of this outage, other than #InternetSnowDay trending on Twitter, was the realization by many credit unions that they didn’t know that services they use or companies they contract with are actually using Amazon’s web services to store their data. Perhaps it was never disclosed where their data was actually being kept, or they were misled about “the cloud.” CU’s should know where their member data is.

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