Even the most reliable systems can go down, and you deserve to know what is happening! Here are some thoughts on what you should be able to find out when a critical piece of your Information Technology fails.
As a managed service provider, we take great care to keep our customers’ systems up and running with minimal downtime. Things do break occasionally though, and it’s very important to keep our customers informed. Take a look at my blog entry about unexpected power issues for example. When a key piece of your technology goes down, you need the problem quickly acknowledged and you should be kept up to date as to the progress of its resolution.
On Wednesday this past week, the part of Google’s GSuite that controls Calendar and Hangouts conversations stopped working for a few hours for us. Rather than beat my head against the wall trying to see if the problem was on my end, I went out to their status website at AppStatus and saw there is a service outage affecting the areas of the product I was having problems with. Though it was frustrating to have systems that I rely upon be inaccessible, I appreciated how well Google communicated the status of their systems. By clicking into the details, they very expertly communicated what systems were having problems, the target time for when they believe it will be resolved, and finally, the news of it being fixed and fully operational again.
While we can’t all have as robust, automated systems as Google for communicating outages, several essential things are good practices that IT Managers and managed service providers should follow.
- Acknowledge the problem.
- Scope the problem – are all systems down or some? Are all users affected or only some users?
- When can a fix be expected?
- Announce when the problem is resolved.
- Conduct a root cause analysis to see what steps can be taken to avoid a recurrence of the problem.
Following the above steps at a minimum will help keep your users informed and at least amicable while you work toward a solution to their issues.