We need our digital services to work

This week, after Boris’ lockdown announcement, every school in the country had cause to communicate with their pupils’ parents, putting huge demand on the digital platforms they use. What followed was a mass failure of systems which could not cope with the demand.

What causes this? The server and bandwidth capacities were not sufficent and they were overwhelmed – like a motorway with too much traffic.

Should they have foreseen this and had the capacity available? Well, yes. Although this is easier to say with hindsight.

One of these platforms had a complete outage from the outset because their SSL Certificate had expired. Devastating human error.

The implications for the platforms’ clients (the schools) were huge; it caused considerable stress, time and reputation damage.
This story peaked my interest because of course it is my job to protect you from such outages. It is background work that is only noticed when it goes wrong.

If your website is hosted on our server we are load balanced with the considerable resources of the UKfast data centres, but it doesn’t mean we would be infallible in the same situation. The data centre engineers advise that, where possible, we should let them know in advance if we are expecting a significant surge so they can monitor and allocate resources.