Lessons we can all learn from the Delta Air Lines it outage

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Bob Milliken

 

Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Companies can pay a hefty sum if they ever experience any downtime. In fact, Delta Air Lines had a bad bout of severe downtime just last month. In just three days, the airline company cancelled 2300 scheduled flights and suffered $150 million in income loss – that’s $2.5M of lost revenue per hour!

Just because you are not Delta doesn’t mean that you won’t be affected by severe downtime. In fact, the impact to smaller guys might even be worse. My calculations tell me that the cost for 1 hr. of Category 4 downtime (Operations come to a halt, all employees impacted) for a company with $6M annual sales will be $54,238!

So, how do you avoid sharing the same, expensive fate? Here are some valuable business continuity lessons we can all learn from Delta’s IT outage.

Strive for 100% redundancy

According to Delta’s chief information officer, a power failure caused the company’s data centre to crash, grounding thousands of would-be passengers. Although power was restored six hours after the incident, critical systems and network equipment failed to switch to a secondary site, corrupting valuable data in the process. And while some systems failed over, other vital applications didn’t; this created bottlenecks, decreased revenue, and diminished customers’ confidence.delta-air-lines

Delta’s case is a massive wakeup call not just for the airline industry but for every business — large and small. Companies must implement disaster recovery plans for their data centres, on-site technology, and Cloud applications to continue servicing customers while fixing the main issue with their primary systems. Companies also need to get rid of the false notion that redundancy plans to assure service continuity is restricted to larger corporations. DR and business continuity solutions are extremely affordable today, and a partnership with a provider can help you in more ways than one (more on this later).

Always test your backups

Although Delta had a plan to bring its business back to normalcy, their DR plan left a lot to be desired in practice. Even though your company may have a failover protocol in place, that protocol adds no value to your business unless it has been rigorously tried and tested. Test your DR plan to find out whether it is capable of running mission-critical applications before — not after — downtime occurs.

Call for help

These lessons and strategies are all crucially important, but pulling off a DR and business continuity solution on your own may be difficult. For this reason, it’s critical to have a planned partnership with a managed services provider that can assess, plan, test and install the continuity solutions your business needs in order to minimize the impact and avoid encountering a Delta IT outage of your own.

Bob Milliken is the TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com specializing in helping businesses with their IT needs and are experts in business continuity and guaranteeing complete IT redundancy. Connect with him at 604.270.1730.