There was radio silence on 04 October, 2021.
(For millions of people, anyway. Me? I had my in-laws bending my ear asking why their WhatsApp messages weren’t going through. Why is Facebook down? Why isn’t their Instagram refreshing? What is happening? Why can’t I fix it? I’m in IT for goodness sake!)
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, three of the biggest companies in the world, had gone down. And it wasn’t just a momentary glitch – it took hours to bring them back online! Millions of people were impacted, their main means of communicating stripped away. The Facebook outage cost the company $40 billion in market value, not to mention over the ad revenue that was lost.
If it can happen to the biggest businesses in the world, it can truly happen to anyone. But most companies can’t afford for their operations to go down for hours on end like in the Facebook Instagram outage! They certainly don’t have billions of dollars to lose.
With the Facebook outage, the disaster that they faced was caused by internal changes and issues that arose from them, it serves as a perfect example for what can happen when a cyberattack occurs, leaving your teams unable to connect to your own servers, services and data.
Four Solutions to Help You Avoid Data Disaster
Thankfully, the kind of Facebook outage that was experienced is actually very avoidable for most businesses. And there are four solutions that you can put into place to stop your company from being crippled by a data disaster.
Every business is different, and no two companies will have the same needs when it comes to disaster recovery. In fact, even the phrase ‘disaster’ could take on a very different meaning depending on the business that you find yourself in.
Think of the way the Coronavirus pandemic, for example, has impacted different businesses. Hospitals, doctors, and even insurance brokers will see it in a very different light from, for example, Internet Service Providers, who suddenly find business booming with more people working from home and needing reliable connectivity.
This means that when you look at a disaster recovery plan checklist, you should do so bearing your own company’s structure, difficulties, and potential disasters in mind. Take these areas into consideration, but refine your checklist as you go.
1. Disaster Recovery Plan
First things first – you need to have a plan in place before the worst-case scenario becomes a reality. This is one of the biggest areas of failure during the Facebook outage, and what saw them offline for hours rather than minutes.
Your Disaster Recovery Plan is all about thinking ahead.
- Which data is critical to your operations?
- Which solutions keep your business running?
- How long can your company operate without that data and those apps and solutions?
- What steps need to be taken to bring your business back online?
- Who is responsible for taking those steps?
By outlining what needs to happen when disaster strikes, you can put measures in place to prevent those disasters from having a catastrophic impact on your company.
2. Cloud Backup
It’s one thing to use cloud solutions to access your apps and data. But what happens when disaster strikes? What if you’re suddenly unable to access your critical information? Your business operations grind to a halt, that’s what. Just look at the Facebook outage 2021!
While cloud services are more reliable in terms of availability than on-premises options, the Facebook outage has proved that even huge conglomerates can go down for hours at a time. This is why it’s important that you keep a backup of your critical data. Even if your primary cloud solutions go offline, the business will be able to continue practically as normal.
3. Cloud Hosting
Backing up your data to the cloud is a great start for ensuring that your operations don’t get interrupted when something goes wrong. But backups can also take time to recover. This is why many companies opt to go the cloud hosting route either instead of, or on top of, their cloud backup solutions.
Cloud hosting provides businesses with a separate environment to run their apps, servers, and networks. You can think of it as a copy of your infrastructure, but operating entirely in the cloud. In fact, many businesses use cloud hosting solutions for their main operations. But it can also be exceptionally useful when it comes to disasters.
Picture this: you’re locked out of your primary environment, your data’s been compromised, your apps aren’t available. This is what was experienced during the Facebook outage, so it can certainly happen to your business! What do you do? Simply switch over to your cloud hosting site and continue as though nothing has changed at all!
Keeping a copy of all your apps, server and network configurations and data will, of course, be more costly than simply keeping a backup of your data in the cloud. But the expense is well worth it when disaster strikes and your operations can continue seamlessly.
4. Multiple Methods of Communication
One of the biggest breakdowns throughout the Facebook outage was the difficulty that the company had in communication. Emails stopped working. WhatsApp was, obviously, offline. Their websites were unavailable. Communication between teams became a nightmare, adding fuel to the fire that they were experiencing.
By having a wide range of communication channels available to you and your teams, disasters can be dealt with a lot quicker. Make sure that the first person who learns about a problem knows who to contact, and how. Part of your disaster recovery planning and backups should also include measures for keeping emails, messaging apps like Teams, and other communications like cloud PBX systems online.
How Microsoft Solutions Can Help
In almost all of these instances, Microsoft has tools and services that can aid in keeping your business online and operating efficiently, even in a state of disaster.
- Cloud storage solutions like Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive are a good starting point for ensuring that your data and documents are accessible from anywhere in the world, and on any device
- Ensuring that you have backups of your information is easy with Microsoft Azure Backup & Recovery solutions
- Microsoft Azure services also include virtual machines that offer the kind of cloud hosting environment that we mentioned earlier – providing you with the opportunity to keep a copy of your setup running at all times, ready for any scenario that might crop up
Microsoft Teams is the perfect platform for communication between your employees. It makes it easy to speak to the right people, at the right time, and ensure that data disasters are picked up on quickly and managed effectively.
Let Solid Systems Guide You
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we’re in the perfect position to walk you through the options for Microsoft 365 solutions. But we can also do so much more. With almost two decades of experience in helping businesses strategically plan for their futures, we are the ideal partner for helping you put together a disaster recovery plan that will keep your company online at all times.
Even where Microsoft isn’t the ideal solution for you, we have backup and security solutions that can help you through the most trying of times.
Don’t wait for a Facebook outage situation to impact your business. Contact us today, and let us help you protect your business against threats large and small.