Back in July, 365 Main, a major data center hosting companies such as c|net, Craigslist, e-surance, and the Oakland Raiders, lost power. For most of the day. And 365 Main has the time, money, and resources to make sure that (almost) never happens. Here is the full story straight from 365 Main. Jesse Robbins has a slightly more digestible version here at O’Reilly Radar.
So if a major provider like 365 Main can drop clients for half the day, what protections are in place in our CU’s? What are reasonable expectations from our members? Do we need to stay up for 24 hours after a power outage, or just survive until the power company comes out to replace the broken transformer or power pole? Obviously the most important thing is data loss and, for the most part, as long as the CU has the appropriate safeguards in place to protect against power surges, the servers and data should be safe from melting. After basic data preservation then comes up time. As a member, how would you feel if you went into a branch and the teller said that they couldn’t actually do anything on your account until tomorrow because their computer system was down? You probably wouldn’t have online banking to check your balance and the CU would probably have to limit the amount of cash they could withdraw for members since they don’t actually know how much each member has. So out comes the pen and paper to hand write which members took how much money. Not an ideal situation.
Put the members’ hat on. What would they expect? I’d be miffed if I couldn’t get cash out, but I’d probably survive. For a day.