The Great Facebook Outage of 2019: A Lesson in Avoiding Downtime

On Wednesday, March 13, Facebook, as well as its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp, experienced an unprecedented eight-hour long outage that caused many of their 2.3 billion monthly users to settle into an entire workday without a complete social media feed. While some people took the outage as an opportunity to detox a bit from scrolling, others defected to other working social channels like Twitter. Even if they hadn’t used their Twitter account for years, users migrated to the next best functional thing when faced with downtime on their favorite channels. Even the Facebook tech support team took to Twitter to update users on the progress resolving the outage.

It took Facebook nearly 24 hours to fully fix the problem  (which Facebook blamed on a “server configuration change that triggered a cascading series of issues”). In that time, they lost some users’ confidence and attention, as well as a good deal of advertising revenue. What can your business learn from Facebook’s unfortunate experience? Avoid downtime at all costs! If your systems are not operational, current and potential customers will head to the next best firm for similar services. How can you prevent downtime? Consider these tips:

  • Trust the experts. From IT installation to maintenance to support, it is critical that you partner with an experienced IT firm. Even if you have your own IT department, keeping a second set of eyes on the health of your network system can help ensure that there are no service interruptions. IT support and network monitoring are some of BCS Voice & Data’s specialties.
  • Make intentional, incremental changes.If you do have to make a comprehensive system update that might affect multiple parts of your network, break the change up into discrete steps. This makes it easier to revert to the earlier version if something goes wrong.
  • Maintain the hardware. As network systems increasingly fly up into the cloud, it is easy to forget that hardware and cabling still drive the functionality for many systems. If you have on-site hardware or cabling, check for wear, tear, and firmware updates quarterly.
  • Have a plan. If something does go wrong and you find yourself with a downed network, it’s important to have a plan. Designate the people within your organization that are best-equipped to tackle IT problems and rehearse recovery plans for the issues most likely to rear their heads. For companies that don’t want to deal with the complexities of planning for downtime, the plan is something as simple as calling their IT support provider and filing a help ticket.

Are you prepared to deal with network downtime? If not, give BCS a call at (757) 497-3100 or contact us online. We can help you shore up your network and stay on-call 24/7 to resolve any problems that arise.