Yesterday, everyone was bombarded by the news that not one, not two, but three separate entities encountered technical problems that necessitated shut-downs:  United Airlines was forced to ground flights, The Wall Street Journal’s web portal was shut down, and the New York Stock Exchange—the veritable backbone of American finance– was shut down for almost 4 hours due to what has been called a ‘technical glitch.”

Rumors were rampant about a coordinated cyber-attack, and pundits across the nation talked about our over-reliance on technology.  Social media kept the rumors swirling, and ensured that virtually no one missed the news—and all the rumors as well, no matter how well informed (or not) the source was.

It’s easy to blame the computers.  That’s because it’s easy to fear things we don’t understand.

But no one was asking the following simple question:  how could Air Traffic Control keep flights safe in the air, and how could any airline operate today, without computers and a coordinated effort between them?  How could the New York Stock Exchange function without the very latest technology?  How could the Wall Street Journal report on business news effectively in a world that demands information now, not later, without computers?

Fear is easy to sell in the media.  The idea of a cyber-attack against three American institutions makes for good copy.  Never mind the fact that experts strongly feel there was no coordinated attack, and that they point out that the failures yesterday were in 3 very different systems.   And no one remarked about the speed of recovery executed by all those affected, which was truly remarkable.

Most everyone knows you need a data backup, and that an alternate system is a good thing.  That’s true whether it’s an American business institution, or… you.

After all, you probably have email in the office and on your smartphone, right?    And most business people have a personal email address and one for business, too.  A laptop and a desktop?    Sure.   If there’s a problem with one system or device, the other can be used—at least temporarily.

The key word and concept to take away from yesterday is ‘temporary.’

One headline about the United problem said flights were grounded ‘for more than an hour’ because of automation issues.   The issues could have been simply an overload of the system, but in any case, to have a situation in which flights had to be grounded—but to recover in about an hour—is not so much a tech failure and more of a tech triumph.  United Staged a terrific recovery after a temporary problem.   They no doubt had a great data back-up, and alternate systems upon which they could rely.

Depending on any one system, whether technical or not, is never smart.  Even a Model T driver knew to have a spare tire.

These days, headlines are made when the New York Stock Exchange has to be shut down for over 3 hours.  Very little news was made about the fact that trading continued for all stocks listed in the New York Stock Exchange.  This is not surprising considering that only about 20% of all NYSE listings actually trade there.

This is not to say don’t worry.  This is to say:  be prepared.  United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Wall Street Journal were.   That’s why they got up and running quickly after a significant challenge—amazingly quickly, if you pause to think about it.

At 5i Solutions, Inc. we help businesses to ensure that their important data is available to them anytime, and from anywhere—no matter what happens.  Our Cloud Vault backup secures data and can provide redundancy to any internal storage your business might have.  Our Document Management systems ensure that vital data and records—whether electronic or paper—are preserved safely and are ready to be deployed where and when you need it.

One single, secure source of intake, access, and storage.  One singular solution.

5i Solutions, Inc.

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