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Business Continuity: A Stark Reminder

A Day of Disruption

November 8th was a challenging day for approximately 400,000 businesses across Australia. With the nation’s second-largest telecom provider unexpectedly going offline early in the morning and services not fully restored until 12 hours later, the day was far from business as usual. Retail stores were forced to close, transactions couldn’t be processed, and operations came to a standstill. This incident raises a critical question: has our connected world become so fragile that a single network configuration error can halt business activities nationwide?


Reflecting on and understanding the Optus Outage

The Optus outage last week underscores our heavy reliance on telecommunications and technology. While it’s easy to get caught up in debates over fault and compensation, perhaps this is an opportune moment for businesses to reevaluate their own continuity strategies.

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin indicated a network error within their core equipment was to blame. The complexity of the issue prevented engineers from resolving it remotely, prolonging the downtime. It’s likely that internal communication challenges also exacerbated the situation, turning it into a perfect storm for Optus.


Widespread Impact

Businesses, particularly those using bundled services for internet, landline, and mobile, found themselves completely offline. Near our Hunter Valley office, small retail stores relying on cloud-based systems had no choice but to shut down. The disruption varied, from businesses halting operations to employees unable to work remotely. At A Corp, we had to activate our business continuity plan, as Optus is one of the many carriers with use at a wholesale level and internally within our organization. By utilizing services from various carriers we were able to maintain our operations at 100% capacity.


Embracing Lessons, Not Blame

The frustration with Optus is evident across social media and news outlets. However, our focus is on helping organizations learn from such incidents. Business continuity involves extensive planning to ensure that essential business functions persist during and after a crisis. It’s about more than just preparing for natural disasters; it’s about identifying and mitigating single points of failure. For those impacted by the outage, reflecting on the actual cost of a day’s disruption is essential.


The Goal of Business Continuity

The objective is to minimize service disruptions and maintain essential functions. Since issues are inevitable, having a practical and executable plan is crucial. In light of the Optus incident, a simple yet effective strategy could involve diversifying service providers for internet and mobile services. Forgoing a small cost-saving from not bundling services is likely a small price to pay for drastically improving your ability to stay connected during an “Optus-Level Event”.  

Time to start planning

If you’re looking to strengthen your business’s resilience against such unexpected disruptions, we’re here to help. Let’s discuss how we can tailor a continuity plan that fits your unique needs, without any pressure or sales pitch. Reach out to us – let’s ensure your business is prepared for whatever the future holds.

Call us at 1300 879 226 or email to start the conversation.