The news that Gmail went down this morning (UK time) got me thinking about how we increasingly rely on third parties for essential business services. With a proliferation of web apps offering to meet our every business need and the inexorable rise of cloud computing, are we investing too much trust in them?
Fortunately, I have Offline Gmail support enabled, which meant that I could at least continue working on emails received overnight while Gmail was down. But judging by the outpouring of angst on Twitter, many people had a pretty unproductive morning, with some four hours of downtime.
Gmail appears to be back up now, but you can bet that this won’t be the last time a major web app suffers downtime. While we can probably be reasonably confident that Google has the engineering talent to recover from most failures quite quickly (especially as Google’s paid-for Google For Domains users have a service-level agreement, including an uptime guarantee of 99.9 percent), we’ve seen many services suffer from a lack of continued support and investment, and some that disappear altogether.
Are we putting too much faith in services that we have no control over? Do you have a backup plan in place in case a critical part of your workflow goes down?