Technology… you are the weakest link!

March 5th, 2013 → 9:17 am @ // No Comments

When my technology fails me, I get really annoyed!

It’s great having so much technology to help build business.  I’ve got tools like PCs, smartphones, and iPads; business systems from Payroll through to Microsoft Office; connectivity through Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive, and LinkedIn.  My business is loaded with useful technologies!  The trouble is, I’m becoming more and more dependent on other people to keep them all working.

The consequences of technology failure are such that any smart entrepreneur puts a lot of effort into backup systems, password protection, and intrusion detection.  I have data backed up on portable hard drives, and in the Cloud.  I have a password-protected system for storing all my passwords, and my intrusion protection systems are thorough enough to make updating software a nuisance.  But I’m still vulnerable.

I’m neither technologically competent, nor interested in technology for its own sake.  That makes me dependent on the people who configure and maintain my systems.  In engineering we measure the probability of failure of the system by multiplying the reliability of each individual component.  So a system with two components, each with 99%reliability will have 98.01% reliability (.99 x .99).  Thus, the more components that are added, the lower the system reliability.  A system with four components, each 99% reliable, will have an overall reliability of only 96.06%.  My business has many technology components, each with an inherent reliability which relates to its design robustness, how it inter-relates with the other technologies, and what happens when a software provider does an update.  With so many factors, I get many failures, most of which can be fixed by software patches, system reboots, or throwing a tantrum. But there is yet another source of system failures… other people.

Now that I run so much of my business through the internet, I have a raft of people supporting various systems, and every one of them has limited ‘reliability’.  Recently, my website lost the ability for people to subscribe to my blog.  After some investigation, it turned out that a piece of third party software, installed by the marketer who had configured some of my systems for me, had not been licensed to me.  After a couple of years, I suddenly lost the use of the software.  Remedying the problem was easy.  I just bought a license.  But, in the process, the system reset my blog feeds to zero… and here’s where my system failed.  Despite my numerous backups, it had not occurred to me to export and backup a list of my blog subscribers.  I had relied on someone else to set up the system with appropriate robustness… and I was wrong.

I hate it when my technology lets me down.  And I hate having to be responsible for ensuring the whole system is backed up.  But losing two years of subscribers has reminded me that I have to be across every technology issue if I wish to create a reliable internet-based business.

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