You have to be ready, a crisis will happen at some point. Having a communications person/team is very important, training them to respond and react responsibly to questions can make or break customer satisfaction. Monitor everything, knowing as soon as there is an issue, means that you and your team are onto it before someone else notices and informs you. It certainly provides confidence to say ‘yes, we are working on that now’, rather than ‘oh really, we’ll have a look into that for you’. And ultimately, fix the issue as fast as possible and get all systems for business-critical stakeholders up first, followed by other services.
- What I’ve learned about servers, web hosting and data center’s is that it is a little like putting all your eggs in one basket. Even making sure that you have regular backups, regular contact with every system admin, and 3rd party service provider won’t stop what is termed, an act of God. Things do sometimes just stop working for no logical reason: transformers blow up; the power goes out; routers fail; backups get corrupted, and automated systems stop doing what they should.
- Keep customers in the loop all the time, even when there isn’t an emergency and give them access to their own files, suggest they also keep backups, they have a share of the ownership of the problem – ask what is their business plan if their system was to fall over for 1hr? How about 24hrs?
- Advise customers about the complexities of the system, the issues being faced in a non-technical way and openly explain if there is going to be some downtime, give an estimate what this period will be – so they can share the information with others who contact them.