Here at Online Support we are specialists in providing expert levels of IT support to businesses throughout London, so we understand the importance of implementing contingency plans for your IT systems, as well as what can go wrong if you don’t.A staggering 80% of companies who suffer a computer disaster that have failed to implement the proper disaster recovery measures go out of business (Source: IBM).
For decades we have relied upon IT technology for looking after a variety of aspects in our lives, and with this in mind, when something goes wrong it can cause massive disruption, costs amounting to millions of pounds and more than a little corporate embarrassment.
Read on as we detail the five biggest IT disasters of all time.
1. Software Bug Almost Starts Nuclear War (1983)
This may sound more like the plot of The Terminator franchise than real life, but back in 1983 a glitch in the Soviet Union’s early warning system led to an alert that said the US had launched five ballistic missiles, almost triggering events that would have led to the deaths of millions.
The apparent cause for the failure was a problem with the program that was supposed to filter false missile detections that could be caused by sunlight reflecting off cloud tops, but fortunately the officer in charge – Lt Col Stanislav Petrov – claimed to have had a “funny feeling” that is was a false alarm, thus averting disaster.
2. The Ariane 5 Failure (1996)
Costing more than $8 billion, the Ariane 5 was supposed to take four satellites up to Earth’s orbit, however the failed conversion of one piece of data led to the rocket’s explosion less than a minute after takeoff.
It is thought the problem occurred when software was unable to convert a 64-bit number into a 16-bit format – an error that also caused the identical back-up unit to fail.
3. The Mars Climate Observer (1998)
Most of us have problems converting imperial units to metric, and vice-versa, although if you’re responsible for developing a space craft you should probably check you’ve done it right.
Fifteen years ago the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander experienced navigation errors and were destroyed when flying too low in the atmosphere – all because a sub-contractor had used imperial units rather than the NASA-specified metric system.
4. PR Disaster for Dell (2006)
They say that a reputation that has taken years to develop can be ruined in an instant, and when a Dell laptop burst into flames at a trade show in Japan, the company’s bosses must have feared it would happen to them.
The cause of the problem was eventually found to be an issue with the battery and power supply overheating and catching fire, leading to the computer giant recalling and replacing 4.1 million laptops.
5. The Millennium Bug (1999/2000)
Markets would crash, businesses would fail and airplanes would fall from the sky. These were just some of the predictions made regarding the turn of this century, and all because computer programs had been coded with two-digit dates instead of four.
However, despite the reported cost of fixing the bug costing £400 billion, the tales of impending doom proved to be false.
Here at Online Support we have designed a special guide, ‘Seven Steps to Taking Disaster Out of Disaster Recovery’, which can help businesses of all sizes plan for an IT disaster. To find out more about our disaster recovery solution or to book a free demo, contact Technical Sales on 0208 232 1190.