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The Great Facebook Outage of 2021: 4 Key Lessons

October 14, 2021 Leave a comment DRI Admin

On Oct. 4, Facebook suffered one of its longest outages of nearly six hours, which was long enough to majorly disrupt online retail and global communications networks and create panic and confusion among users. What can resilience professionals learn from the social network’s surprise crash?

  1. Human error happens – but you can plan for it: How often have we seen cybersecurity statistics that can trace major breaches and shutdowns back to simple employee mistakes? According to Facebook Infrastructure Vice President Santosh Janardha, the crash started while engineers were performing routine maintenance. Companies can’t always stop human error, but there are ways to mitigate it – evaluating whether software has “circuit breaker” features to limit damage, and employing automation tech to reduce the manual processes typically at the core of those errors.
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: As some tech industry insiders like to point out, you only rent space on social platforms – you don’t own it. Whether you’re a retailer, an advertiser, or simply use Facebook platforms for communications, every organization should have alternative venues to reach out to employees, customers and clients.
  3. Educate your employees: Facebook suddenly going dark provided a huge opening for cybercriminals looking to take advantage of confusion with phishing tactics (“Click this link to restore your Facebook access,” etc.). October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and this outage is a perfect example to incorporate into your ongoing employee training efforts.
  4. Prepare for the next outage: If nothing else, this most recent Facebook crash is a great time to open up discussions on how much use it has among your organization, and put strategies in place that assume this won’t be the last time it happens (in fact, based on some user reports it may have already gotten a sequel).

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