The year was 1995. Michael Jordan returned to the NBA. Amazon sold its first book. Windows 95 unleashed the era of taskbars, long filenames, and the recycle bin. And when people weren’t dancing the Macarena, they were flocking to see Apollo 13 and hear Tom Hanks utter the phrase that would launch millions of (mostly annoying) impersonations: “Houston, we have a problem.”
Thankfully, the eggheads in space and the eggheads on the ground worked tirelessly (and apparently smoked a whole lot of cigarettes) to get the crew home. But it was the pivotal moment when the failure was first reported that triggered the spectacular problem-solving process. If it happened an hour — or maybe even a few minutes — later, then the outcome could have been tragic instead of triumphant.
Admittedly, the brave, intrepid professionals in charge of keeping their organization’s website online and functional DON’T have to deal with life-and-death scenarios. But they DO need to deal with problems that, if left unsolved, will significantly damage competitive advantage, brand reputation and sales (immediately if we’re talking e-commerce, and eventually if we aren’t). And that’s where AlertBot’s failure alerting feature enters the picture.
What is Failure Alerting?
Failure alerting is when designated individuals — such as a SysAdmin, CTO, CIO, CEO, and so on — are proactively notified when something goes wrong with a website, such as downtime, errors, slowness, or unresponsive behavior.
As a result, just like in Apollo 13, the right people can take swift, intelligent action to fix things before visitors/customers sound the alarm bell, or worse, head out the (virtual) door and go straight to a competitor without looking back.
AlertBot customers can choose any or all of the following methods to notify team members of a website failure event:
- Text Message
- Phone Call
For example, a SysAdmin could receive an email, a text message, and a phone call the moment something goes wrong.
Now, if we were in NASA Mission Control circa 1970, someone wearing really thick horned-rimmed glasses would rise above the cigarette smoke and ask: What happens if the SysAdmin doesn’t receive the email, text message, and phone call? It’s a good question, and there is an even better answer: don’t worry about it.
AlertBot’s failure reporting feature can be configured to escalate the website failure warning if certain individuals don’t respond within a specific timeframe. For example, if a SysAdmin is indisposed for any reason (driving, sleeping, etc.), then after two minutes the alert can be pushed to another designated team member such as the CTO. And if the CTO doesn’t respond within two minutes, then the alert can be pushed to the CIO, and so on.
Ideally, the individual (or multiple individuals) who are sent the first alert receive it immediately, and take rapid action. But if they don’t or can’t, then the alert is escalated accordingly. It is important to note that all of this happens automatically, so there is no possibility of human error.
Granted, none of this is as entertaining as watching Apollo 13. There’s no rousing soundtrack or Tom Hanks. Heck, there’s not even Kevin Bacon.
But when it comes to fixing website problems as quickly as possible, organizations know that the less drama, the better. That’s precisely what AlertBot’s multi-channel, auto-escalating failure reporting feature delivers. We don’t need an Oscar. We just need extremely satisfied customers — and we have a lot of those.
Next Up: Reviewing Failure Events Online
In our next blog, we’ll explore reviewing failure events online to pinpoint issues and detect problems. Stay tuned!
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