On 14th December 2020, people around the world reported that Google services such as YouTube, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Hangouts, and Gmail were disrupted by an unexpected outage.
Users could neither log into their Gmail accounts nor send or receive emails. The problem seemed to escalate as frustrated users reported that they were logged out of their Google Meet sessions.
The outage also affected other Google services including Nest and YouTube users who could not access the website to view their favorite videos.
According to tech experts, the service interruption occurred as a result of an authentication system outage. This means that the system crashed from lacking adequate storage space in authentication tools.
Google acknowledged that there was an issue affecting services such as Gmail but the outage's significance to businesses was understated.
Effect on Businesses
Notably, Google services interruption was detrimental to users who depend on the technology giant for communication and services facilitation.
Google Nest users who were working from home could not alter simple home settings such as controlling the lighting or thermostats.
Google slides' users could not access presentation slides, hence, missing important meetings since the service was inaccessible.
Businesses using Google Workspace could not access the enterprise productivity suite, which enables users to integrate remote working applications including Google Drive, Gmail, Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets.
With over 3 billion users utilizing Google Nest and Workspace, the outage raised significant questions about people's reliance on technology and the effects on businesses, particularly, during the Coronavirus pandemic, which has compelled companies to work remotely.
Implications on Businesses
Google outage has revealed significant implications for business owners.
First, service outages lead to loss of revenue due to communication and service breakdown between proprietors and customers. Poor or lack of communication could prevent customers from purchasing a product or service. Furthermore, the disruptions could prevent access to eCommerce platforms, therefore, hindering trade.
Second, internet service interruptions could lead to business failure. Visualize an online business that has integrated Google Workspace into its operations. With the outage, the business could stop operating entirely. Consequently, customers may be exposed to poor interactions, which leads to complaints. Prolonged interruptions could eventually cause business failure.
Third, loss of productivity. Following outages, businesses experience reduced productivity and low employee engagement. This may result from the disruptions that cause employees to look for alternative means of conducting business, therefore, hindering preventing them from completing tasks or focusing on productive activities.
Lessons from the Outage
Proactive business owners have taken the Google outage as a learning experience that has revealed the risks of digital concentration.
The disruption should prompt them to evaluate businesses' dependency on technology and ensure that appropriate steps are put into place to take significant control of their business operations when technology fails.
This includes having back-up systems for crucial operations that can cripple the business severely when internet outages occur.
Additionally, crucial providers of internet-related services and products should review their services regularly and ascertain that appropriate testing, reliability, and quality are maintained. This will prevent them from experiencing unprecedented outages that affect businesses adversely.