The Cloud – not all sunshine and rainbows

Yesterday evening (04/10/2021) saw mass hysteria across the globe as families were forced to do something they’ve not done for a long time. Talk to each other! The reason for this old-fashioned interaction was not one of choice, but the fact the operator of various internet platforms, Facebook, Inc. was experiencing a major outage.

Facebook, Inc. has come a long way from just simply being a website university students post images of drunken nights out to. It’s now worth 55 billion dollars and often a topic of contention should you consider its addictive attributes, subliminal messaging and involvement in politics.

Facebook, Inc. also owns some other platforms, the photography based social media platform and WhatsApp, the cross-platform messaging system.

So, when around 4pm BST, 11am Eastern these platforms went offline, the world was a little miffed to say the least.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if the only repercussion was just that of a few hours without the incessant pinging of our mobile phones. But Facebook Inc. and it’s associated services are used in a much more business oriented capacity, Facebook Workplace for example. A communication and collaboration platform for businesses which obviously was knocked out by the issue.

Facebook hosts a marketplace now, a place many cottage industries use to flog their wares, also something which takes place across Instagram.

Finally WhatsApp, it’s end-to-end encryption has been leveraged by businesses for communicating with individuals, customers and also large groups of people.

So even though it was “only” a social media platform suffering a 6 hour outage, the disruption to business was also felt across the globe. The root cause is believed to be an issue with DNS records, but whatever the cause it shows us how relying on cloud providers, SaaS vendors and hyperscalers can be problematic if all of a sudden they’re not around.

Last nights outage is reported to have cost the global economy upwards of $1 Billion and comes at a time Facebook, Inc. is working to have a motion thrown out of US court over claims it is monopolising the social networking space.

Luckily despite a few high-profile incidents they’re not something which happens with any modicum of regularity, but by putting your trust into the cloud solely, are we truly still responsible for our own data?