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Technology

Outages in digital space require right planning, tie-ups

For digital platforms
For digital platforms, the effects of an outage are felt immediately and things escalate quickly due to network effects. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Market dominance is often only frowned upon by parties that do not enjoy the said status.

However, this status carries with it inherent responsibility especially so if a product or service has acquired utility status, with an enviable number of daily active consumers.

In the case of physical goods, disruptions on the supply side do not cause short, sharp shocks in the market due to the presence of buffers on the producer — wholesaler leg and the ready availability of alternatives.

On the other hand, for digital platforms, the narrative reads different, where the effects of an outage are felt immediately and things escalate quickly due to network effects.

Safaricom's recent system outage that affected parts of the country across communications and mobile money albeit well-handled and quickly recovered from, and the Huduma Centre pseudo outage from an unsettled service provider bill, points to the need for organisations large, small and government too to have disaster preparedness baked into daily operations.

What do we have in place, if at all, to ensure security of service and uptime of mission critical services, more so outside government where market forces predispose companies to roll out closed networks?

Co-opetition and co-operation may be the way to go with independent distributed infrastructure rolled out, that consortium partners can fall back on to ensure service uptime, even in degraded capacity.

What can those in telecoms, payments and mobility do different?

We are fortunate that we have not been hit by any incidents that have knocked down multiple utilities or platforms, either in part simultaneously or completely as individual stacks.

However, it is high time we looked critically at what we have and also what needs to be in place with an inclination to digital platforms that underpin modern day conversation and commerce, the lifeblood of economies and governance.

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