Don't suffer an IT outage like the NAB
Oct 12, 2016
Your domain name, and its name services are more important to your business than they are given credit for; as we saw this week with the National Australia Bank outages.
The basics: how do domains work?
Domains (example.com.au) are like a license. Your purchase them for a period (usually 2 years, which you can renew at the end of the term). Whenever you reference them on a device for web or email, the domain register points you to the “Domain Name Servers” for that domain name.
Domain Name Servers (or Domain Name System) act as a directory. When you ask for a service for that domain (email, web, etc.) the DNS provides your computer with the IP address for the server for that service, which the device can then use to talk to that server for your domain.
Each domain can have many services (email, web address(s), among others), and many Domain Name Servers which keep in sync with each other for redundancy.
NAB outage last week (and maybe this week) was because of a mistake.
The NAB outages on Mobile Banking, online UBank, Contact Centre & Corporate payments processing for over a day last week was due to a member of their outsourced IT team deleting a production Domain Name Zone (A portion of the DNS).
This resulted in end user devices (Computers, Mobiles, etc.) not being directed to the servers that the applications were running from, essentially shutting down some NAB services for clients (and ultimately costing NAB a lot in business).
This could happen to you as well.
While most small businesses don’t run complicated systems like the NAB, in most cases at the very least SME DNS does run their website, email & occasionally custom web applications (like online stores).
When transferring domains to other providers, or your web developer, you risk mistakes being made and outages in your services to clients and your business.
How to avoid DNS outages.
As with most things, prior planning & full understanding of the environment is key.
- When transferring your domain, make sure your contractor is fully aware of all services that the domain is working with.
- Keep control of DNS with a single partner (Usually your IT partner is best) to ensure administration is clean and fully documented.
- When other partners require changes made to a domain, get them to talk directly with your IT partner (or whomever has control of the domain) to ensure there are no issues.
Director at Tropical Business Solutions