All right, 30 July wasn’t a great day for us at Uber. To answer the question in the headline: despite all our contingency planning we suffered a fault we weren’t ready for but should have thought of.
Please accept our apologies. We have learnt a lot from Monday’s outage and will make sure the same thing cannot happen again.
It’s important to acknowledge that things can and will go wrong – and that you can’t think of everything.
This is especially true for complex networked IT systems.
What’s important here is to manage resilience and backup to ensure that they are sufficient to get you through outages with no or minimal business downtime, without resorting to overkill measures.
Put a dollar figure on every hour of downtime, adding lost sales, customer enquiries, and everything else that runs over your network connection. It’s often a surprisingly high figure and needs to be balanced against the cost of having a spare connection in case something goes wrong.
Smaller retailers and similar businesses with just a few staffers could for instance use mobile devices and tether or hotspot the 4G data connections on those for EFTPOS transactions.
Make sure that the phones or mobile devices are charged at all times and have enough data on the account. A couple of charged up powerpacks are cheap insurance against a phone dying on you.
Medium sized and larger companies might want to explore network diversity options, with a backup link to a different provider. For this to make sense, it has to use a different physical network medium to the existing connection: if you have fibre, add a wireless link or even a copper connection as your backup.
Talk to us about this; we can help you decide what the best solution would be and point you in the right direction for any IT requirements.
Of course, keeping the network connection going is only part of the resilience story. Installing uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) for your systems and network routers is a must, and maybe generators as well. Then – make sure everything is kept up to date and tested.
It’s also important to take stock of your system resilience regularly, to make sure it works as intended and keeps up with business needs and growth. Technology moves forward at a rapid pace so you might find that the setup that was pretty good a few years ago is no longer cost effective and needs to be swapped out for something better.
This sounds like plenty of work, but when things fall over your business will be ready for it and won’t skip a beat.