Imagine the frustration of dealing with a 40-hour maintenance shutdown with no access to sensitive data from a customer’s perspective. Or even more unpleasant, dealing with the backlash as the responsible party. This recently happened to Verizon as they underwent what was intended to be a “seamless upgrade functionality” for its cloud service. The irony being that the upgrade was intended to allow future upgrades to occur with no service interruption as Verizon pushes to become a leading enterprise cloud service provider. Credibility for cloud service providers is contingent on reliability. And while Verizon notified customers in advance of the shutdown, 40 hours of downtime for most is simply not acceptable. When customers see other telecommunication giants offering the same enterprise class cloud structure without all the headaches, Verizon immediately begins to lose credibility as a strong contender. Upgrades of this magnitude are always particularly challenging. And while every upgrade has some planned impact, what can be done to tackle business disruptions such as this one? Below is a list of strategies to assess and manage risks particularly related to telecom and IT:

Stay informed to the latest technological advancements and security measures. Monitoring advancements in security measures will serve as guide for key risk that should be in your organization’s radar. Observing technological advancements will help lessen the effects of any future technology disruptions and aid in prevention of your organizations falling “behind the curve”. Both serve as examples of how you should be altering your business model to support new functions.

Understand the risk of your main network technology type. Numerous business risks are due to a lack of end-to-end understanding of services, platforms and processes. It is imperative to understand both the current and historic network configuration. You cannot accurately mitigate risk on something you do not understand. By understanding the technology type you can then recognize the unique risk and issues associated with it.

Implementation of comprehensive IT security measures. Understanding emerging security threats and being able to maintain effective policies will help ensure that security measures remain proficient. While telecommunications has its own unique security standards and frameworks, it can prove beneficial to use different industry security models to offer a richer, broader approach. You can also collaborate with suppliers and partners to tackle privacy and security issues in new service areas.

Impose constant communication. Verizon poorly chose to notify consumers of service restoration through a press conference release leaving many consumers unaware and frustrated. When dealing with service disruption, providing consistent and constant updates to the consumer will ease tension while improving customer communications and increasing service trust. It is also important to enforce constant communication within your organization. By maximizing transparency with both the consumer and company disruptions.

Diversify your infrastructure.  By locking your organization into a single architecture, you create an inflexible and potentially more costly environment. Performing redundant backup of your data can help assure that it is stored securely and can be accessed quickly in case of any disruption to your core infrastructure. This can be achieved by looking into hosting with an alternative supplier or as simple as disk based backups.  In the event of an outage, the number of customers left with no access to vital information is substantially reduced due to the building of diversity into the infrastructure.

Perform strategic risk review. Conventional risk management techniques will only highlight service level risk. Depth analysis in key risk areas ensures that mitigation of the risks can be fulfilled. They should be assessed against established methodologies by staff with the necessary expertise. After completing a strategic risk review, impose new metrics to track and control the likely introduction of risk. While this process may seem very time consuming and costly, the return on investment is significant when compared to the mitigation of losses.  In addition, doing so will translate into true granularity to improve both organization performance and client experience.


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  1. Telecommunications is the backbone for most businesses. I can not see how anyone would stay with a carrier that didn't have active-active redundancies in place.