"Our website is currently unavailable. We'll be back soon."
Words that no one wants to see in the year 2017 where we live and work online. Just before Christmas all ATO websites, including our beloved Tax Agents Portal, went down for four days. During this time, I found myself in a bit of a pickle as I had 14 urgent Activity Statements to prepare and lodge. It also did not help that during this time our cloud accounting software, Xero, also decided to go down for 'maintenance'. The ATO website going down just before Christmas had users asking the ATO to pay for their staff wages and if they had tried turning it off and on again. Unable to work on the ATO website and Xero meant that I had some time to write my next blog and to reflect on the internet-dependent world we are beginning to live in.
A TED talk that was presented a couple of years ago by Danny Hills (who happens to be the third person to ever register a domain name on the Internet) pointed out that if the Internet was taken out by a virus, whether it be from an accident, or a deliberate, concentrated attack, we actually have no "plan B". Today most of society is running on services and systems that rely on the internet so a collapse could see society simply ceasing to function. Cue people screaming, looting and so on and so on. Check out Danny's TED talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOEQ9GteWbg
The ease of the Google search engine has been an amazing step forward, but can also make people lazy and less intelligent. I am a culprit of googling everything including 'funny office secret santa present'.
Last year at Overells, we made the big move to 'the cloud'. This raised some questions such as "what if the internet goes down at office?". The beauty of the cloud is that in such a situation we would be able to all go home and log into the cloud from our own internet. I am fairly certain that most people would have a good grasp of backing up their computer and the importance of doing so, but do we have backups for the internet?
We are all becoming increasingly dependent on the internet in that we use it to pay our bills, store phone numbers and to give us reminders for upcoming appointments. This personally scares me. My iPhone is currently backed up to the cloud, so if the cloud were to go down I would lose years worth of photos, all the details of my future appointments and my Mum's phone number.
What would you do if the internet crashed? Do you have a Plan B?