The recent storms in Sydney and the Gold Coast have highlighted the impact of extreme weather on technology services. It has also highlighted how reliant we are on technology to carry out our day to day functions.
The article recently published in the Gold Coast Bulletin, highlights a series of failures with financial transactions. These failures puzzled us at Standby as most if not all banks and electronic switching centres in the financial scene have multiple data centres and electronic multiple paths to their sites and very stable infrastructure. This does not necessarily mean they will not fail but it certainly reduces the chances of a failure.
It is more likely the failures in the transaction processing will be more local to the retailer. It is often the “the last mile” which is the problem as it is often copper and copper is vulnerable to water getting into its joins. In the Risk assessment work we often carry out Standby regularly sees the termination points and data concentration points for retail outlets poorly set up. Often it can be an old stationery store, a cleaners cupboard or under the stairs, yet connectivity to data sources is now critical to most organisations now. Retailers need to have some sort of manual system to process transactions. In New Zealand some of the super market chains, fall back is to use the zip-zap slips. Retailers need to talk to their banks and have some sort of manual process in place for those customers who find they just do not have cash on them to pay for their goods. Customers will remember the extra effort that was done and will return to your shop. A bad experience and they may never return.
With the extreme weather that is now becoming more common, organisations need to take a new look at their business systems and their IT infrastructure to increase the level of resilience. This may mean for example, lifting the network termination points, switches and servers higher in your building. If your business is not on a flood plain, do not think you are immune to flooding. A heavy downpour could lead to your roof leaking or having the road outside turning into a river that decides a good path is through your business. Murphy is alive and well when it comes to water and it will find the lowest point to flow to and that may well be through your business.