money on fire disaster recovery, it support perth, cyber security perthRecently, major Australian telecommunications provider Optus suffered a major outage that affected 10.2 million Australians and affected 400,000 businesses. According to reports, a routine software upgrade that went wrong, took down their core network and stopped their clients from being able to communicate via phones or internet services.

I visited a retail store over the weekend who was affected, and the owner was clearly unimpressed saying they couldn’t process sales via EFTPOS and credit cards. The lady mentioned it went on for over 8 hours and all they had been offered was an additional 200GB of data for their troubles.

I want you to think about how much an 8-hour outage would cost you and your firm or business?

I was also talking with a project client of ours this week, and they advised they have over 1,000 mobile phones and their landlines with Optus and none of these were working. They provide services that I would argue are critical, and this phone outage they suffered, could have put lives in danger.

Now I know it can be tough to stomach from a cost point of view, but naturally, this is why you need redundancy in any critical system. One of my mentors has a saying, “The most dangerous number in any business is 1”. Clearly Optus, were not aware of this or had not planned appropriately.

I want you to think back over that saying again however as this applies to all areas of your firm and business.

So how do you avoid this happening to you?

  1. You want to have a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan. You don’t know when something like this might happen and what it will affect. Then once you build the plan you need to conduct various exercises that test different disaster scenarios to see how well your plan would work.

So, going back to our project client, they mentioned that they had done an excise around a ransomware scenario recently. This occurred shortly after the Optus outage, and then they discovered their plan mentioned a safe in the building. Turns out all the people who knew the code to open the safe were no longer employed with the organisation. That is NOT something you want to discover in the middle of a real disaster.

  1. You also want to evaluate your suppliers and vendors. Find out if they have plans in place for how or if they will recover in a disaster. Now I’m sure Optus had these in place, but clearly given the length of the outage, they had not planned well enough in advance.
  2. Ensure you have redundancy in your technology systems. When you look to purchase technology, you want to ensure you do your due diligence and find out about redundancy. A cheaper technology, service or provider will unlikely have the level of redundancy you need to ensure a disaster doesn’t affect you. This also applies to things such as Internet services and phone services which are critical in the modern world we live and conduct business.

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