Top 3 Power and Data Outages of 2013

Do you remember Oreo's tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl – “You can still dunk in the dark” – luckily we didn’t have to “dunk in the dark” this year, although it may have been the one time in NFL history that Broncos' fans wouldn't have minded a break from reality.

Top 3 Outages of 2013

Businesses thrive on energy and as a result, often fall victim to inherent operation problems due to natural weather events and human error. Last year happened to be a busy year for power and data outages, so let's take a look at the top 3 outages in 2013:

Note – you most likely won't be surprised to see the three companies listed, considering their massive data, sizeable reach and consumer reliance.

  1. Microsoft – At the end of October 2013, Microsoft Windows Azure suffered an outage that lasted over 20 hours, putting entire regions including the United States, Europe, and Asia on pause while a sub-component system was fixed. You can follow Microsoft Azure uptime details here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/service-dashboard/
  2. Google – In August 2013, all of Google's services went down for 5 minutes resulting in the global volume of all Internet traffic to drop by 40%. Take a minute to think about the astounding repercussions a single day traffic decline of 40% can have dependant businesses…staggering! 

    Not even 30 days into the New Year, Google experienced another disruptive event on January 24, 2014. Google's Gmail, Drive and Google+ services went down and affected about 10% of users. The downtime lasted for less than an hour, but impacted thousands of people. You can follow current uptime details for Google Services here: http://www.google.com/appsstatus#hl=en&v=status&ts=1390591311985

  3. Amazon Web Services (AWS) – This event was a 3-hour outage that affected a multitude of sites highly ranked in Amazon's web traffic. Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time this has happened to AWS – in 2012 a memory leak caused interruptions to users of Reddit, Foursquare, Minecraft and other popular social sites. You can monitor AWS uptime here: http://status.aws.amazon.com/

So, how do businesses better prepare for outages and how best can you plan ahead?

First and foremost, you need a business continuity plan. Within your plan you should account for:

  • Personal safety of employees and customers
  • Temporary power solutions (i.e. generators, offsite relocations, etc.)
  • Immediate response to chemical or hazardous environment issues
  • Chain of command defined to address questions, issues and media inquiries
  • Data security and data backup plan
  • And much more.

Smart businesses all have a plan in place for when the power goes out and ensure there is a way to continue operations, minimize business interruption, as well as recoup lost time, data, and resources. If you haven't already, create a plan of action today for your business and avoid being a victim of hindsight when the lights go out.