Monday, February 2, 2009

Recent Web Outages Make Me Nerveous!

It’s only February, and we’ve already seen more Internet problems this year than I remember in all of 2008! Yet many churches and ministries are deciding to put their most important data on the web… data that, if unavailable, could shut them down. I wrote an article today that can help protect your ministry from Internet outages and the havoc they can wreak.

Click here for a free PDF download of the article.


Ben Sharpe said...

Nice article. And while I understand your reasoning, I can't get totally behind your warning.

It seems to imply that keeping mission-critical data out in "the cloud" is unnecessarily dangerous and than data of that sort would be better managed "in house."

The problem is that most churches/ministries are woefully lacking in their I.T. department. (not all) More often than not you'll find is creaking servers tucked away in some hot closet with virtually no password protection and no backups. And if the church has a hard time affording an IT person, odds are they don't have a standby replacement server when the current one decides to depart. Y

Compare a one or two day internet outage with losing all your ChMS data for good and the Internet doesn't seem so bad.

It is probably fair to say (for example) that the I.T. department at Google is a bit better than the one at most churches (or businesses for that matter). If they get hit with a DDoS, they can handle it. And yes, they had an issue this Sunday where they accidentally flagged all websites as containing malware, but it was for an hour (6:30am - 7:30am Pacific) and it did not prevent you from getting to your destination, it put up a warning dialog before you got there. Hardly the kind of thing that would shut down a Sunday morning service.

If your internet is out because of an unprecedented event (e.g. huge ice storm) -- your phone lines and power are probably out for the very same reason. You have bigger issues to deal with, but you can rest assured that your data is safe in a fortress of a data center somewhere else.

If your internet is out at the church, at least web-based systems can be accessed with a cellular modem or from home, coffee shops, or anywhere there *does* happen to be a connection.

Perhaps the true message here is:
Have a good plan when you can't get to your data.

Nick Nicholaou said...

Your points are good, Ben, but the Internet can become unavailable for a number of reasons that will impact your ministry without warning. Though I like it for remote backup, I prefer to strategize more up time-- five 9s-- in house. It's not expensive to do, and there are many who can help churches accomplish that.

The point of the article is to help decision makers think through the issues and make good decisions, not just get sold a wheelbarrow full of promises. It's also to challenge hosted service providers to do what they should in geographically mirroring their solutions. Very few do that now, and it puts their customers unnecessarily at risk.

Fady Eldeiry said...

I agree with both! :-)