Are the Public Clouds Too Big to Fail?
In October of 2008, Congress enacted the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, more commonly known as the bailout of the financial system. It was deemed that certain U.S. financial companies and institutions were too important to the systemic stability of the system to be allowed to become insolvent. The understanding was that catastrophic financial consequences would be the result of the failure of these entities and that those aggregate failures could devastate the U.S. As a result, they have been heavily regulated and controlled with the intention of protecting against that type of exposure again.
The recent major outages in the public clouds services inevitably lead to the same question being asked of this new industry. That is, whether or not certain public cloud services have become so critical to the functioning of the U.S. economy that those systems should be subject to the same strict scrutiny and control as the financial systems. Are they so intertwined with U.S. commerce that a “Cloud Dodd-Frank” should be considered by the 115th session of Congress? Although hard to precisely verify, it has been reported that a recent public cloud outage affected service to more than 50% of the top 100 online retailers. What happens when a major public cloud problem brings down half of the 911 systems across the U.S., or even one-third of certain critical state and local government systems? Everyone, from the federal, state, and local governments to public and private industry, is using public cloud services, and the trend is continuing to accelerate.
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