Delta system crash: How to avoid a similar crisis

If you think you don’t need a disaster recovery plan – think again.

Just look at what happened to Delta Air Lines earlier this year. In August, Delta passengers around the world were left stranded when a computer failure completely halted the airline’s operations. In just four days, the carrier was forced to cancel 2 100 flights, which affected hundreds of thousands of passengers. While the failure was initially attributed to a computer shutdown due to a power outage, it was later revealed that the widespread chaos was caused by an internal outage and the failure of a backup system to keep the lights on after the main computer system failed. If ever there was a case for developing a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, the Delta Air Lines incident was just that.

But it isn’t just the likes of Delta Air Lines who have been affected.

Did you know?

  • Half of all businesses have experienced some sort of system outage.
  • Over 80% of these outages last more than 24 hours.
  • 80% of the businesses that experienced these outages went out of business within three years.
  • Only 35% of small businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place.
  • About 75% of businesses believe that their disaster recovery plans are insufficient.

Ultimately, any organisation could experience some sort of reputation-damaging downtime due to ineffectual backups and insufficient disaster recovery plans that fail to ensure that mission-critical systems are always up and running.

We’ve compiled a list of tips to keep Delta-esque downtime disasters at bay.

It all starts with a plan: Start with the basics. IT business continuity and disaster recovery planning can prove daunting but it’s really important to define which processes and systems are critical to the day-to-day operations of the business. A proper plan should also outline how different employees must respond in the event of a disaster. Planning for business continuity takes this one step further, outlining how the business  will continue its operations after the disaster.

Understand the landscape: Developing an effective disaster recovery plan comes down to understanding the threats your business may face and how the ramifications of these risks could affect your bottom line. Your plan should offer alternatives in the event of a system failure or outage.

Put the plan to test: It’s all very well to have a plan in place but if you haven’t tested how these procedures will fare in the event of an actual disaster, your efforts are fruitless. In fact, an under-tested plan can be more of an obstacle than having no plan at all. Testing should be conducted a few times a year to ensure that your strategy doesn’t fall flat when something actually does go wrong.

Back it up: Regular and reliable backups are the cornerstone of any business continuity and disaster recovery plan. All companies, regardless of size and industry, should back-up data at least once a day, generally overnight. This also means implementing a policy of backing up laptops and desktops to protect any critical data stored on this hardware, which could be compromised if the device is lost, stolen or damaged.

Every business is vulnerable. The key is to partner with the right IT services provider to reduce downtime risks.

Contact us to find out how our IT service experts can ensure that you never have  to explain a system outage to your customers.