Professional journalists often rely on HARO's pool of experts and peers to source authoritative answers to critical IT issues. Some of these questions speak to a broader audience, but I tend to identify those relevant to my clients. As I browsed through the questions, I came across one and thought: "I think answering this to my customers would add value to their business process."
Here's the question: Technology experts, please share your stories – What was the worst thing to happen on the internet in 2021? Why was the internet a mistake?
Well, there's a lot we could say to prove that the internet is NOT a mistake because there are many ways the World Wide Web has transformed human socio-economic life. For instance, it has facilitated connectivity, communication, and sharing through e-mails, chats, and VOIP. Other advantages include:
Despite the benefits of the Internet, online connectivity has also had some significant negative occurrences that threaten the business world and individual life. So, the big question remains:
As the world becomes increasingly connected, and website capabilities grow, content distribution networks (CDNs) enable companies to business online as they accelerate website speed and global access to their sites. But what happens when a major cloud-computing provider experiences an internet outage?
It halts businesses that depend solely on CDNs. The collapse of the Disney+ mobile food ordering system, Turnstiles, and Microsoft Azure are only examples of how outages among bigwig cloud-storage providers can halt online business activities and opportunities.
The internet offers malicious users the chance to develop complex algorithms to disrupt, distort, and deteriorate information security. Sophisticated cyber-attacks, such as data phishing, ransomware, cryptojacking, social engineering hacks, and the spread of misinformation have made corporate, governmental, and personal data and assets vulnerable to money-motivated adversaries.
Social media is probably the worst thing to happen on the internet. These social sites have led to the rapid spread and sharing of content, whether from a verified source or not, leading to a loss of high-quality information. With news overload, attention becomes limited, and no one cares about quality anymore, except the number of users who have viewed or read specific content.
It's pretty clear that the internet was not a mistake, but we let it become one. Here's what one of my peers on HARO had to say:
I think the most prominent issue with the internet is disinformation. It started as a go-to platform for information sharing, allowing people to access more unfiltered information than they could have otherwise obtained using other media, such as textbooks, journals, newspapers, etc. Today, disinformation is widespread, veiling solid facts from the public eye. It's a disturbing trend that I have no answer to. But I think we're better off with information sharing than without. My advice now is to perform due diligence and fact-check to determine what other content says about a subject before choosing what to believe.
Twenty-twenty-one was a memorable year for internet users as governments, companies, and individuals used it for selfish gains, spread propaganda, and even blocked access to information. Below are some worst things that happened to the internet in 2021.
Governments and Tech Companies Blocking Information
In May last year, Russian internet regulator, Roskomnadzor, threatened to block or slow down Facebook, Twitter, and Google if they couldn't pull down content it deemed illegal. That internet crackdown came as Russia ordered the tech companies to withdraw any anti-Kremlin content that it believed spurred the January protests in the country.
On another note, Cuba blocked communications to avert protests that plagued the country in July. During that time, the Cuban government stopped major virtual network providers and communication apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, and Alp Toker. It was clear that the protests were not social-media-catalyzed but were due to the country's health crisis and economic plunge.
On 4 October 2021, Facebook, alongside its suite of apps (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus), experienced an outage that halted communications and information access for billions of people globally. In its statement, Facebook explained that the crash was caused by a configuration change in one of its central systems that connected major data centers. Still, it indicates how dependent the world is on a single tech company that has been subject to scrutiny in the better part of 2021.
Multiple AWS Outages Halt Online Businesses
Amazon cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services (AWS), experienced historic internet outages in December. The unexpected collapse of AWS cloud services brought an instant halt to Amazon's own retail operations, inconveniencing both consumers and third-party shippers.
AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud services are the world's largest CDN backbone providers. The ramification of the dependence on these major cloud-computing providers is that when they experience outages, businesses across the world break, too. The December outage means that an entire 33% of the global cloud infrastructure and the businesses that depend on it were curtailed. Apps crashed, including Disney+, McDonald's mobile, Venmo, and many other US and overseas businesses.
Having understood how your cloud-dependent business may crash following an internet outage, it would be best to have a backup plan. I work for a network security company that uses an AWS-supported password manager. The December outages blocked our customer support and engineering arms from accessing our clients' passwords. It had a damaging effect on the company and its operations.
That gave me the idea to start the habit of exporting our passwords at the start of every month and storing them in an encrypted, independent vault on another business. That enabled us to access these passwords and assist our customers during widespread outages.
I want to leave you with a question to think over: What's important to you, and what backup plan do you have?
At Orbis Solutions, we provide client-focused IT solutions, from cybersecurity and cloud storage to managed IT and technology mapping. If you'd like to proof your business against outages, contact us today, and get client-focused IT services backed by ongoing technical support.
Thanks to our friends at GenerationIX in Los Angeles for their help. Check out https://www.generationix.com/it-services-los-angeles/ to know about our friends from LA.
Orbis Solutions, Inc., in Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin and throughout Nevada, has developed creative, strategic and cost-effective technical solutions for a wide variety of clients. Offering a diverse range of products and services, Orbis provides IT solutions to promote your company’s productivity and profitability, and help you sort through the latest-hyped technology, so you can select the best hardware, software or service for your business needs.