Connectivity

Internet outages cost companies millions. Is a C-suite position the answer?

Catchpoint report builds the case for a chief resilience officer.
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From cloud vendors to data centers, modern businesses rely on a host of internet-connected applications and services to deliver what their customers expect. When any one of those links in the chain breaks, it can translate directly into lost revenue—lots of it.

According to a forthcoming report from internet performance-monitoring platform Catchpoint, 43% of surveyed businesses across the finance, e-commerce, cloud, and healthcare sectors estimated they lost “more than $1 million due to internet outages or degradations in the month prior to the survey.”

In an early look at Catchpoint’s first Internet Resilience Report, shared with Tech Brew, Catchpoint puts forth a solution: plan for and guard against outages from the top down.

Just as “there are financial consequences to security breaches, there are financial consequences—and brand and reputation consequences—for resiliency, and not having the right resiliency,” Catchpoint CEO and co-founder Mehdi Daoudi told Tech Brew in an interview. “People need to take it as seriously as security.”

As the report notes, Fortune 2000 companies are increasingly adding a chief reliability officer or chief resilience officer to their C-suites. Daoudi said these job titles should become even more commonplace, especially as many businesses outsource tech functions to large service providers that can have a domino effect when they go down.

For example, Catchpoint detected and documented an extensive Adobe Experience Cloud outage late last year that lasted for 18 hours. Service disruptions can also stem from a breakdown in physical infrastructure, such as subsea cable cuts that have recently affected East Africa, he noted.

“That’s why I think it’s important to have a chief resilience officer, because that person would basically drive the planning,” he said. “Where are our single points of failure? And how do we deal with that?”

Learning from mistakes

No room in the budget for a new executive? No problem. Daoudi suggested that any company can shift its culture by documenting and studying mistakes in the product-delivery chain.

“If you’re not going to go and hire a chief resilience officer, it’s important that companies embrace resiliency and reliability. How? By encouraging the learning from failures, by not firing,” he said. “What did we learn from this outage? What can we do to strengthen our postures going forward?”

He suggested running preemptive exercises to “poke at the system and break it and see not only what broke, but also, how do people respond?”

Of course, that doesn’t mean companies should continue to work with vendors that repeatedly bungle the delivery of their services or demonstrate that they’re not a trustworthy link in the chain, he said.

“I think we’re all allowed to make a mistake, I think it’s extremely important to make sure that you can learn from it,” Daoudi said. “If the vendor doesn’t learn from it, or they have a reputation of not caring about that, then you shouldn’t do business with them.”

The inaugural Catchpoint Internet Resilience Report will be released Tuesday morning.

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.