TelstraClear outage affects 180,000 accounts

Outage shows lack of resiliency - TUANZ Chair

TelstraClear’s outage, which lasted almost 24 hours, affected 180,000 email accounts, and the company has yet to identify the problem or discuss compensation.

Spokesperson David Courtney says the outage began at around 5pm on Monday, affecting eight servers. The first server was back up at 8am yesterday, and the remaining seven servers were restored throughout the day.

“We had a team working on it through the night. They put up one server first to ensure that the processes they were using were such that no data was lost,” Courtney says.

“It was a balancing act between restoring things as fast as they could and doing it so as not to lose data. They don’t anticipate any data’s been lost however steps have to be done to ensure that’s the case.”

He says TelstraClear has been focused on fixing the issue and has launched an investigation into the outage. Courtney ruled out hacking or a virus as the cause.

He says that compensation has not been considered at this stage as TelstraClear has been focused on fixing the issue.

Computerworld posted updates throughout yesterday, and a number of comments from readers claimed a lack of communication about the outage. However Courtney says the company utilised all available outlets to inform its customers.

“We’ve certainly used mainstream media and the websites etc and there are always lessons to be learned from these situations and no doubt as part of the wash-up we’ll look how to do things better next time, in terms of keeping customers informed.”

TUANZ Chair Pat O’Connell says yesterday’s outage “shows a clear lack of resilience in their network and in their mail systems.”

O’Connell says that users rely on telco networks to perform, and major outages such as that from TelstraClear, and the issues with the Vodafone network which were also revealed yesterday, lead to a lack of user confidence in telco networks.

“You can’t under engineer these things; they are the lifeblood of society. The exchange of information. If they under engineer them and have creaky old systems then they’re going to be facing repeated failures and lack of user confidence.”

O’Connell was sceptical about the benefits to users of compensation.

“I don’t know that compensation actually fixes any problems, it may make some people feel better. It may penalise the infringer and may discourage them from being so blasé about their delivery potentially but I don’t know it’s actually going to solve a lot of problems,” he says.

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