We’re not all Doomed

Dealing with risk that is both High Probability and High Impact

I’ve decided to do the occasional blog on working with the web to find out if other people have similar ideas or solutions, as a first one I thought about how you can deal with high risk and high impact situations.  For an example consider a massive potential hit that is coming on your web services, you have no idea how heavy the demand will be when it hits  but you want your customers to have a positive experience.  This can appear scary at first thought – primarily as it will seem as if it is out of your own control, but dealing with it can be surprisingly simple.

Two easy steps to take being –

1:         Reduce the risk as much as possible (Reduce the probability)

Not always the easiest thing to do but as much as possible that can be done within your control.  Can you add additional web servers to balance the load, can it be farmed out to other free web services externally, will others assist you with taking the load, can you distribute it, can you give your external customer more than one option?  All of these reduce the probability of your main web server crashing under the load.

2:         Deal with the risk (Reduce the impact)

Having a system crash out wouldn’t leave customers happy, but having a helpful message giving the instruction and contact details etc does reduce the impact of a failure.  Other things to consider would be an alternative set-up, could people phone a number or complete something on paper (old style) in the event of a system failure.  Adding a human touch here could really help, a picture of yourself or one of your engineers with a message to assure people that the issue is being worked on.  That is much more friendly than a computer written error – and lets the customers know that you care about the service they receive and you’re doing everything you possibly can for them, you are only human.

So, just two steps, – reduce the risk, and deal with the risk to get a bit more control over the high risk and high impact situation.

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