The Effect of the Facebook Outage – Cybersecurity Awareness Month

How apt that Facebook and related services would experience their longest outage during #CyberSecurityMonth.

Whilst Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and WhatsApp were down for over 5 hours, there were many concerns by users:

  • Is this a hack?
  • Is my data safe?
  • If it has gone for good, have I lost all my pictures?
  • I can’t log into other websites that I use Facebook to log in with!
  • I run my business on Facebook/Instagram and can no longer sell/communicate with customers

These are very valid concerns, and thankfully in this instance, they weren’t the case for the most part.

The Facebook Outage - Should you be concerned?

According to Facebook the outage was due to configuration changes on the routers that coordinate traffic between their data centres, causing a cascading effect resulting in their servers grounding to a halt.

 

Then, to answer the concerns from users

  • No, it wasn’t a hack.
  • Your data is as safe as it ever was on Facebook.
  • If it does ever go down, yes, you’ll lose your pictures
  • You also may struggle to log into associated services that you use Facebook as a login for if it does go down
  • If you operate your business solely on Facebook and associated services, now might be a good time to reflect on whether this is the best idea for you

What has the Facebook outage taught us?

That the Cyber Security tips we’re talking about don’t just relate to coordinated cyber-attacks. A social media platform going down for any number of hours can impact not only the users but businesses that use them to operate.

It’s highlighted that a lot of people still use the same password and email to access multiple accounts. There were rumours that passwords from Facebook were being sold on nefarious hacking sites, causing some users to panic.

Therefore, it’s imperative that we use different passwords for our online profiles, a password manager can help with this.

OES Icon Personal Security

For those concerned with the safety of their data on Facebook, it’s a good time to evaluate what personal data Facebook and other services keep. If they do get hacked, are you happy with anyone having that data? If not, change it.

OES Icon Download

Download your pictures now, and any other information you want to keep. As we’ve mentioned in our Cyber Basics Tips, it’s never a good idea to keep information in one place. Back it up, have at least one hard copy as well as copies in the cloud.

Don’t use Facebook to log into your other services, set up with an email and unique password. Yes, it may seem like the quickest method in the short term, but let’s not find ourselves in this situation again.

What are the impacts of Social Media outages to Businesses?

Businesses that use Facebook as their sole method of communication and sales, hopefully, this situation has highlighted that some changes are necessary.

As Facebook and Instagram allow businesses to have their shops on their platforms, a lot of businesses use it as their sole method of conducting business. Facebook Shops aren’t necessarily a bad thing, they’re a great supplement to other platforms. However, if your business is solely run through Facebook with sales and messages going through the platform, you’re setting yourself up to lose everything in the event that Facebook does down for good. Even if it just has outages, that’s a disruption to your business that can cost you money.

Don’t panic, there are lots of things you can do to make sure these issues don’t impact your business.

  • Set up your own website and prompt people to purchase from there instead of natively in Facebook
  • Work on getting your customers to sign up to a mailing list so you can still contact them if the worst happens
  • Have your sales etc backed up securely off the platform

These are just a few things you can do, we strongly suggest looking into what is the best option for you and your business.

We hope that this helped alleviate some fears and enables you to better protect yourself and your business in future. If your business is in need of Managed IT, we can help! Get in touch today.

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