Some Apple iCloud services suffered outages and/or performance issues on Nov. 18. The impacted systems included iMessage and FaceTime. Apple Insider claims iCloud has suffered roughly four outages in the past three months -- not exactly a stellar track record for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), which focuses like a laser on end-user experience.

What's the lesson here for IT service providers and computer consultants? Some cloud skeptics will start pounding the table again for on-premises servers. But it's too late to put the cloud genie back in the bottle. Instead, IT consultants should look for ways to proactively warn their customers about potential cloud outages and emerging performance issues.

For example, Boundary -- a SaaS-based monitoring platform -- accurately pinpointed performance issues and outages at Amazon and Microsoft long before those cloud services providers alerted partners and customers about imminent cloud outages.

For more than a decade, MSPs (managed services providers) have promoted pro-active IT management to their on-premises IT customers. Now those same MSPs -- along with cloud integrators and consultants -- need to extend that peace of mind to cloud services. And that means it's time for proactive cloud monitoring.

Just about any IT consultant can tell you whether a cloud service is on or off, thanks to all the cloud status dashboards offered by Amazon, Microsoft, Rackspace and others. The real trick is getting ahead of the problem, spotting irregularities before small problems become big issues, and screaming fire before anybody else notices there is smoke in the room.

The next time Apple iCloud goes dark, I wonder if any IT consultants or MSPs will spot the problem -- and report it to customers -- before Apple owns up to the issue? That day is rapidly approaching.