Learn why Interac and others need Failover
Episode #12-43 released on July 8, 2022
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I am Canadian, and after having to deal with yet another massive outage, it seems some big businesses have yet to learn the most basic premise of a network failover. It has come to my attention that Interac, the only debit payment processor in Canada that handles Debit transactions, had an exclusivity contract with Rogers Canada, which meant that whenever Rogers Internet failed, Interac was vulnerable to going offline, as all of its communications are handled exclusively by Rogers Canada itself.
Is there something we can learn from this kind of situation? The answer is yes, there are two lessons that can be learnt from this event and how it is utterly and completely avoidable in the first place.
The first lesson of avoiding any issue, and the easiest for a big business is to simply use more than one Internet Service Provider in the first place. Having used this option in the first place would have meant that Interac would have continued to deliver service even with Rogers offline.
The second lesson, exclusivity contracts should never exist for essential services. This only benefits the business in the short term but can definitely open the companies to liability in the case of long-term outages like July 8, 2022, for Rogers and Interac.
And, the worse thing is, unless the Interac service is setup with redundant communication systems using more than one service, this will not only risk happening again, but it will. Rogers has already had several outages in just the last few months, and because of the fact that there are only a few communication providers, it means the entire economy risks tanking the second they all go offline at the same time. And that is taking into consideration Failover.
Essential services should, also, be looking to satellite communications and other wireless standards as last resort failover solutions, even if the communications are slowed, to at least provide services to entire countries. The kind of backups the major credit card agencies already use. And while it does occur on the local level, it is harder for all credit card communications to go offline as was evident. While initially in my own workplace the credit and debit systems went offline, the credit card payment processors bounced back almost immediately.
The giant telecoms should probably be looking at breaking up each of the geographic locations and operating them independently in order to prevent large scale issues in the future. This is a good idea because if Interac uses Failover and has more than one geographically distinct server farm, which it likely does, it will shield it, and others from the same issue in the future.
Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net