The worst situation any provider can face is a huge data loss that happens completely outside of its circle of influence.
T-Mobile relied on Microsoft to keep the data integrity of its popular Sidekick cell phone. But when a major outage affected most of its users, it wasn’t Microsoft that had to deal with the initial outrage, it was T-Mobile.
What can client-facing companies that use external providers to power their applications learn from this?
- Data is the most important piece of the equation. Companies should have frequent data audits, either by internal technical members or third-party outsourced providers and insist that there’s a solid backup and disaster recovery plan in place.
- The cloud is as insecure as your local PC’s hard drive. Cloud computing naysayers are already taking this case to showcase how insecure this technology is. The truth is cloud computing is not more or less secure to data loss. It’s exactly the same as a regular hard drive that fails. Redundancy and backup have nothing to do with this.
- After the worst has happened, you need to step it up. T-Mobile was offering a month’s worth of free service. Seriously? This is the best they can think of? This is no time to hide your lack of control on your providers behind a cheap marketing ploy. The best thing they can do is tell users why the loss happened (and pound Microsoft for it), show a plan of how this won’t happen again and then offer significant monetary repairs.
- Local redundancy is never redundant. I’m not sure if technically this is possible, but T-Mobile should have had local copies of the data within their organization, sort of a local backup should this happen. I’m sure it will be a cheaper option now than paying for the brand hit they’ll sustain at Microsoft’s expense.
T-Mobile has stopped sales of the Sidekick momentarily. However, the bigger question is what will happen with Microsoft’s reputation in the mobile space?
Of course users should also open their eyes as well. Do not trust any external service with your data and keep a local backup always.