A recent study by CA Technologies revealed that downtime costs a lot of money. The study won't shock people who have found themselves staring at a disconnected workstation in the middle of a work session. Downtime costs a lot of money, and recovery can be one of the most stressful things a system administrator does (surpassing divorce and moving house).
The study is interesting. The gist of it is that your company will lose up to $159,331 each year because of server outages.
Data protection and recovery strategies will help. However, there is very little that can be done to fix this problem. Also, the study only analysed the revenue loss when servers go down: there is an interesting case that needs to be made in terms of workstations (often PCs) becoming unusable at random times, for random reasons (see: Trojans, spyware, etc.)
Businesses seem to be running away from their own IT infrastructure, in order to minimise their downtime (or, quite possibly, in order to be able to blame somebody else when the downtime occurs). For example the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving some 120,000 users onto the cloud; the announcement is quite fresh (yesterday), but they are not alone: they are the first cabinet agency to move, but you can surely expect many more making the same decisions.
And while the cloud is hosting more and more solutions, more and more companies are offering solutions to monitor your clouds. Nimsoft, for example, has just released Nimsoft Cloud Monitor for Rackspace. This won't be much use to the USDA as they picked a Microsoft solution, but it might well be a godsend for all those Rackspace customers who want to keep a close eye on their cloud without risking a bad storm.
Having an IT infrastructure is extremely costly. That's just a fact of life. The cloud might not fix every problem, but at least it puts the IT infrastructure in the hands of people who do just that every day, without the need to employ a whole IT department. It will be interesting to see what we write in five years, once the cloud is a fact of life and IT departments are responsible of monitoring and allocating resources, rather than setting them up.