This article is not about some doomsday scenario, or perhaps how computers will take over the world, but is a little more pragmatic in its approach. Technology is wonderful and great, has helped us become more productive, helps us communicate more efficiently, and so on and so forth. However, as we become more and more dependent on technology, business risks increase. As a good for instance, my entire blog network went down the weekend of January 1st and 2nd because I accidentally maintained my web hosting away. Nothing told me that I was doing it, and I certainly didn’t intend it, but it was a consequence of something else I was doing. Boom, gone. Then my blog network was down for two days as I tried to restore it.
Many businesses are extremely dependent on computers and technology these days. If the power went out, most business could not happen. Even my little tiny consulting business would be suffering… I have not done anything on paper recently and it would be a major shock. However, I could ultimately do business without technology after significant adjustments. However, I do technology consulting so I could not do billable work. The companies that I work with are heavily dependent on technology so they literally could not do business if the power went out.
There are many, many risks to our technology infrastructure that could leave a business or businesses severely handicapped, even to the point of putting them out of business. If you manage technology risks, I am sure you know what I am talking about, so I will not go into detail. Many companies are prepared for disasters but it is often the devil you do not know that will really hurt you. In fact, I made a list of risks for a client and over the following three years, some happened and other problems not on my list happened. These problems can knock you out for hours or days. The complexity of understanding and fixing technology problems are well beyond most people as it often takes teams to resolve them.
Now I am not saying to do business without technology. You cannot. It would be too expensive and many of your competitors would run right over you. You have to use technology but you have to understand the risks. You have to be prepared for, and practice recovering from, problems that may never happen but could.
What kinds of technology problems have you encountered?