While the actual cause of the Optus outage on Wednesday has not yet been detailed, the outage itself encourages us to work on our businesses, to ensure we are better protected.
- Check your network. Make sure routers are current. Talk to your ISP about a more current replacement.
- Check your computers. Dust is a killer. Power off, remove the cover, take it outside and use a can of air to clean.
- Document your computer’s and network. List everything you have and who is responsible for each. We often receive support calls for items not supplied by us and not known about by us.
- Check your backups. Get the most recent one restored to ensure it is backing up everything you need.
- Use a cloud backup service for in-store and offsite storage.
- Have a plan. If your network, computer system or EFTPOS is down, what’s your plan? Document it. Train all staff. Make sure everyone knows the plan and where to find it.
- Consider redundancies, like a mobile phone on a different network in case your main network is down, a secondary EFTPOS box for payments should that be down.
First responders are good at what they do because they plan and drill, such that responding is muscle-memory. What happened with Optus is a reminder to be prepared in local retail so you are less impacted.
This advice was first provided to Tower Systems POS software customers in a customer support email. It’s good advice any business could / should follow at the very least. We kept it brief to ensure it’s read and actioned. We kept the language simple to ensure it is accessible to all.
For sure we have no real idea what caused the Optus outage. But we do know that following this advice we have shared will better prepare local retail businesses for tech challenges they may face themselves.
The best time to prepare for a disaster, no matter how big or small, is well in advance of the disaster. The steps we have outlined here are simple to follow and achievable in any business regardless of technical skill set.