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What Fastly, and the day it broke the internet, taught businesses

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Tuesday 8th June saw many of the largest websites in the world suffer a total blackout of their services. News websites such as The Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times were affected, as well as the UK government, Amazon and PayPal among many others as a result of a fault at the CDN provider, Fastly.The fault was discovered within the content delivery network (CDN) provider Fastly, which many of these websites use. While the outage lasted for just over an hour, the impact of it was felt so far around the world that many are asking not only why and how it happened, but what can be done to avoid a reoccurrence.

Neuways’ Chief Technology Officer Toby Stephenson wasn’t overly surprised that the outage occurred, as there are just a handful of viable options out there for websites looking for CDNs.

“This incident highlights the reliance that many of the world’s biggest websites put on CDNs like Fastly. As there are so few of these services, these outages can occur from time-to-time.

“By using these CDNs to push content out to readers, these are usually websites that are fast and responsive – but in this case they have been affected by a severe outage and had been left with egg on their collective faces.”While it might have been amusing to some to see news outlets using Google Documents and Twitter threads to spread word of the outage as their own websites were unavailable, there was reportedly £20 MILLION of lost revenue in just over 60 minutes. This is a significant loss of revenue for so many of the sites involved, and just shows the costly damage of downtime of any kind.

But while errors can happen from time-to-time, this particular outage can teach many different businesses, even those unaffected, lessons. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an unprecedented demand for cloud-based services, which has put extra pressure on the likes of Fastly. This is due to businesses needing to reach out of the office and have flexible services that allow their employees to work from home more easily.

Now, it is hard to pin that down to being the exact reason why this particular fault occurred, but businesses should be more aware of their need to diversify. As the websites that went down earlier in the week are now aware, there is no need to risk being operational. It is far better to spread your various IT services with different providers if possible. This then gives your business more opportunity to survive an outage, by not being so reliant upon one service, like that of Fastly.Neuways Managing Director, Martin Roberts, added: “Businesses should ensure that their services are diversified to avoid any kind of outage in their operations.

“As we have seen, a number of the world’s largest organisations do not do this and they suffered some damage during the Fastly blackout. You can bet they will be reviewing their IT infrastructure as we speak to ensure nothing of this scale ever happens again, as it is not only damaging to their purses, but reputationally, too.”

It is always worth reviewing your IT infrastructure whenever an event of significance, such as this, occurs as part of a wider IT strategy. Experienced Managed Service Providers, such as Neuways, can help ensure your business has the right structures in place to not succumb to downtime of any kind.

If you are concerned about your IT strategy, infrastructure or providers, talk to Neuways’ IT experts today:  01283 753333 or email


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