It’s the Monday of all Mondays: You are experiencing a cloud service outage. And depending on the scope and impact of the outage, you need to figure out a way to communicate with your team and pronto. But how? Do you have a plan? More than just saying “Keep Calm and Carry On,” we’ve put together a few pointers on what you can and should do next.
Define the Outage
The first step is to determine if the outage is specific to your provider. Let’s take two specific scenarios: your communications platform (Office 365, Gmail) and your applicant tracking system (ATS).
Communications Platform (Email)
If Microsoft or Google has a major outage, you can bet your bottom dollar you aren’t the only one affected by it. And if everybody’s having a problem, you’re not alone in your lack of ability to communicate—everyone is temporarily on mute.
However, not all outages are created equal. If some components of your digital office suite are functional, you won’t be up a creek without a paddle. Maybe Teams is down, but Outlook is up and running. Gmail may not load, but Google Drive is working flawlessly. Or it could be that your message security systems have been disrupted, but email can still flow through. Sometimes, small components can derail larger elements like the multi-factor authentication systems going down and preventing the ability to login to the platform. The night club might be open for business, but the bouncer won’t let you in.
Unlike a specific application going down (like your ATS) with no workaround, there are multiple facets to communication platforms. With millions of mailboxes affected, you can ensure that it is a priority for Microsoft or the respective company to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. At worst, it’s a temporary issue.
For starts, try checking their Twitter account to see if Microsoft posted anything publicly about an outage (you can also request push notifications from their admin app, if you want up-to-the-minute updates) or use other social platforms like Reddit to see if tech professionals are discussing the outage (believe me, if you follow the right subreddits, you’ll know about outages before your vendors do).
If your other application(s) are up, work out of it as best you can do. Generally, you can send emails out of those applications directly. You just may not be able to receive messages. But whether it’s emails or phone calls, do the tasks you can. Email may be down, but life can go on.
With millions of mailboxes impacted, you can be sure that it’s a top priority for the host company to resolve the issue as fast as possible and get everything back on track. It’s a temporary issue.
Okay, so your ATS is temporarily offline. That may be true, but your email is still up and running, ergo, you can still communicate and reach out to people while your ATS is unavailable. Small blessings, right?
Chances are, if the ATS outage is with a large company, such as Bullhorn, the organization will be more responsive to solving it fast because they have a reputation to uphold and the resources to engineer a quick fix. You can call them, but if you are put on hold for an exorbitant amount of time, expect that you’re not the only one having an issue. That’s a sign some larger outage is transpiring and it’s not just you! But what can you do in the meantime?
If you want to access the platform once service resumes, keep checking their status page, which vendors tend to update in a relatively quick amount of time. Additionally, you can have your IT Department or MSP solutions provider reach out. If they tell you the time to fix this will be a while, that means the issue is probably something they are aware of and are actively working to remedy.
With Bullhorn in particular, make sure you know the swim lane (i.e. the specific server/cluster) you’re on. When you look at the status page, Bullhorn will often show the different swim lanes the server your data is located on. If they talk about an outage that’s not across the board, you can identify if you are a part of that outage and respond accordingly.
Remember, everything outside your ATS is most likely still functional, so you can send emails, continue meetings, etc., but make sure to specifically map out your game plan with your team.
Create a Strategy
Basic rule of thumb for every strategy: discuss best practices in outage communication before an interruption happens. What are the contact protocols between you and your candidates, you and your recruiters, you and your clients?
If your ATS is down, you can send a quick message to everyone letting them know about the outage and where to check the status on the issue. That’s an email you can send out to the whole organization quickly or send a text or a message through messaging platform like Slack or Teams– you have multiple avenues for mass messaging, all without taking up loads of time.
If your email is down, how do you reach out to your people quickly? Well, text communication can be a clear fallback. Again, make sure your team is clear about the outage for any urgent communications, so your team can function without major disruption.
The key is to have an action plan in place before you’re in the middle of an outage crisis, clarifying what your people can do to maintain their performance and keep hitting their KPIs. That way, no one is losing extensive productive time, whether it’s because of a pesky glitch or act of nature. Do your best to continue working during the outage and take things one step at a time.
How Cubex Can Come to the Rescue
We make the wait and transition as painless as possible. If there is an outage going on, we generally are aware of it prior to widespread publication of the issue. We will do the legwork, monitor updates, and, if it’s something we can notify you about, we’ll do so preemptively.
We are there to manage and mitigate IT system outages in whatever way possible and can create a plan that outlines best practices for outage communication so you can continue to have business continuity.
Outages suck. But we can keep you informed and get in touch with the right person. We will work with you as best we can until the issue is resolved, and you and your team are back working at full capacity.
Is your company prepared for the unavoidable reality of cloud service outages? Take a look at our services. Cubex can examine your business operations and provide the right solutions to transform your company’s workflow.