Facebook outage: a warning for everyone

Last week’s Facebook outage shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone paying attention. The Allianz Risk Barometer 2021 predicted that there would be a major outage of a global web service within the next few years. Major networks and services do suffer outages, and the more we rely on these tools, the more serious the outages become.

October 12, 2021

I expect most of the population did not lose sleep over Mark Zuckerberg’s $6bn loss, or worry that the Facebook juggernaut ran out of gas for a day. Lost advertising revenue for a global advertising giant will have been costly, but ultimately the outage poses little existential risk to Facebook’s dominance.

Communication breakdown

For many of us, the effects were irritating, but not very serious. I use WhatsApp to keep in touch with my family, and while switching to text messages was inconvenient, it was refreshing to use my mobile phone for its original purpose for once!

Potentially far worse was the effect on small businesses who depend on Facebook to communicate with their customers and conduct their day-to-day business. Without the resources of a giant like Facebook, some of these organisations may have suffered badly.

It could happen to anyone

The Facebook outage is a warning. Even huge platforms and services can experience problems: imagine if something like AWS or Azure was out of action for even just a few days.

What would your business do if a core platform failed? Facebook relied on its own web infrastructure for their internal systems as well as their products. This reportedly left Facebook employees unable to get into their offices as their automated entry systems were down. Notions of brand loyalty fell away as some took to Twitter to say they were on a ‘snow day’, without access to any systems.

Of course, I don’t know what Facebook’s business continuity planning looks like, but it doesn’t appear to have included an alternative communication and collaboration service for its employees.

Introducing StarLeaf Standby

Last week StarLeaf released a pioneering application, designed to help businesses in scenarios like these: StarLeaf Standby. It is an enterprise communications and collaboration service for business continuity and cyber incident response.

Standby utilises a completely independent network, air-gapped from any web service platform provided by the hyperscalers. The platform supports a rich set of collaboration services for messaging, meetings and telephony, as well as features specifically designed for business continuity readiness and incident response/crisis management.

One-click failover

With StarLeaf Standby, you can instantly activate a completely independent service with the highest levels of security and reliability as soon as problems arise. You’ll have an emergency communication channel so you can collaborate to resolve the problem.

And any video conferences scheduled on the primary collaboration platform (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco’s Webex) are automatically recreated on the StarLeaf platform with new joining instructions sent to all your people by SMS or email.

Get future-proofed

As CIOs reflect on the Facebook outage and CISOs breathe a sigh of relief that the Facebook outage seems to have been a configuration issue rather than a ransom attack, perhaps it is time to consider how they would respond should their own systems be compromised. The more we depend on digital tools to run our businesses and lives, the more important it becomes to have a backup for when things go wrong.

Ready to start protecting your business with StarLeaf Standby?

Learn more

David Gingell, CMO
David Gingell, CMO