CloudNot every small business or startup has to worry about being raided by International law enforcement agencies. The Pirate Bay has been under fire for years due to having provided a portal for piracy.

While Pirate Bay doesn’t exactly hand out pirated copies of Metallica’s music, it does serve as a platform on which links to torrent files with this information can be found. This has resulted in the site constantly having to shift data centers to avoid raids by authorities which would threaten to shut it down until a new data center could be established elsewhere.

For small businesses, there is often a very real risk of losing everything in the face of unforeseen circumstances at the primary data center or internal errors which would threaten the stability of the host. A majority of sites managed by individuals and small businesses are hosted from a single location. They may rent space from a co-location center or have hosting from a managed provider. Either way, this may actually be a risky proposition.

Prevention of Downtime

The Pirate Bay’s recent decision to head to the cloud with its hosting was made after two days of downtime resulted from a raid conducted on one of its facilities. Because Pirate Bay was hosted in a single data center, it could be taken offline by cutting it off at a single point.

The cloud (which is basically a broad description meaning Web-based resources scattered throughout the world) provides some added protection against this intrusion. For small businesses that aren’t taking part in potentially illegal activities, this would mean giving the company protection against local power failures, flooding, internal issues, and other unexpected service interruptions.

Advantages of Redundancy

If one data center holding Pirate Bay’s information is interrupted, it can switch its DNS over to another. Agencies around the world would have to work in coordination, seeking action against not only Pirate Bay but its multiple hosting providers in conjunction. It would be much more difficult to take the site down unless you hit it at the DNS level, which isn’t as easy as getting a search warrant.

For small businesses, having important files stored in multiple remote (secured) locations provides a redundancy which could vastly improve the security of both the company and its clients. So many small businesses rely on local storage servers which often exist inside the same building as the company. A burglary might threaten to put these companies out of business and jeopardize the privacy of its entire customer base. If those files are kept in the cloud on secured servers, this data is much more difficult to infiltrate.

Reduced Costs

Reducing your overhead is another advantage to going to the cloud. Huge data centers run by larger corporations offer more bang for your buck in terms of value. You can spend tens of thousands on a server of your very own, or you can spend hundreds on a cloud-based solution which includes redundant servers located in strategic positions around the world.

The Pirate Bay is one of the most heavily visited sites on the Web. It costs a lot to run it, no doubt. Not having to invest in infrastructure and management of those servers can save a lot money for even the smallest of businesses. Companies like Amazon and Google have incredible solutions available that utilize world-class architecture which has been proven time and time again.

Do you trust your business’ data to the cloud? Is the Pirate Bay setting a good example for a new generation of Web-dependent startups?

Cloud Computing by Petr Kratochvil