January 21 2014

Last Tuesday Jan 14, 2014 100km/h winds swept through the Peace Country. This caused havoc for some Internet Service Providers and 1 week later things still aren’t back to normal. Eastlink, one of our preferred providers in Peace River, has had outages that add up to over 16 business hours over the last 7 days. It has been my experience that most business owners drastically underestimate how much losing the internet connection would cost them. Most often the risk evaluation goes along one of these lines.

  •  My provider almost never goes down and if it does go down they get things back up quickly.
  • We really don’t need any protection from outages as it doesn’t affect our business that much.
  • The internet is a very stable environment. Trying to back up the internet is too complex. It’s like trying to shoot an ant with an elephant gun.

All of these approaches ring hollow for most organizations after an extended outage. In 2012 we noticed that the most stressful situations our Customer Care Center staff encountered were when extended or even short internet outages occurred. Our customers were highly pressured to get any outages resolved as soon as possible. We often act as the vendor contact so in effect the ‘buck stops with us’ whether we can fix the situation or not. Extended outages became crippling. I began to inform customers that expecting the internet to be stable was like expecting there to be no earthquakes in California. (This could now be updated to expecting no wind in the Peace Country perhaps!)
Since 2012 PCIT has continuously sought and improved upon their automatic failover options. We now have what I believe is a very very smooth failover system. This includes the email, remote access, SharePoint sites, application servers, Citrix Servers and almost everything else. What we are not doing is releasing the method that enables a very smooth failover system for all services to be accomplished.

Written by Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer is the founder and president of pcit.

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  • Austin Williamson said, on January 23rd, 2014 at 10:46.

    As of writing, Eastlink is still down for several of their customers.

    This is where redundancy and our failover processes come into play. Like an insurance policy, sometimes you wonder if the expense is worth it…

    … and then a outage hits, and it pays off in a big way. In a single day, the staff productivity can easily cover a year’s worth of disaster prep.