Facebook Out of Service: Lesson Learned – Don’t Rely on Unreliable Messaging Systems

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

The definition of reliable is something that can be trusted or believed because it works or behaves well as expected. That in no way recently describes Facebook and its other platforms including WhatsApp. Major global outages like the ones that occurred on these platforms last month are barriers to enterprise communication that wipe out employee productivity and damage customer relationships. With all that at stake, a key lesson learned from these outages is that enterprises can’t afford to rely on unreliable messaging systems.

The Facebook and WhatsApp downtime also underscored the importance of mobile messaging platforms built for the enterprise that provide the reliability and security organizations need to communicate and collaborate effectively – critical factors for successfully achieving business goals.

On October 4th, Facebook experienced a major outage which extended to WhatsApp and other Facebook applications. Downdetector called the global Facebook outage an “extremely impactful event” and noted that the outage was one of the largest ever tracked in terms of the total number of reports and duration.

The outage, which took these apps down for almost six hours, caused widespread frustration and disruption for enterprises. This was particularly true for organizations that rely on these platforms for business communication.

Facebook blamed the outage on configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between data centers, causing disruption to network traffic which had a cascading effect that brought services to a halt.

The reliability of Facebook and its family of apps took another hit on October 8th when a configuration change caused a two-hour disruption to its services.

During these outages organizations relying on Facebook and WhatsApp for business communication scrambled to find alternate messaging systems to restore communication. And as this was happening, many organizations lost confidence in platforms like WhatsApp to reliably handle their messaging needs.

Facebook apologized for the inconvenience but that does not recoup the lost time, productivity and revenue resulting from these outages. The company also assured users that no user data was compromised during the outage. While this may be true, enterprises should remember that their data is always at risk as a result of Facebook and WhatsApp data gathering practices.

Downtime isn’t an acceptable risk in enterprise communications. As we learned from the Facebook outages, consumer-grade messaging apps aren't as reliable as enterprise-class messaging platforms. The best secure enterprise messaging solutions are architected to ensure the reliability and security of communications among employees, customers and other stakeholders.

The Facebook outage was most certainly a lesson learned in the importance of reliable, secure enterprise messaging. NetSfere is the definition of reliability, guaranteeing the seamless delivery of messages and files across multiple devices and a geographically diverse user base.

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