May 31st, 2017
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BA insisted that the computer system outages that grounded hundreds of flights were not linked to ferocious cost-cutting and the outsourcing of work to contractors in its IT department.
There is absolutely no way to get a melt down of this scale unless you’ve just fired your key staff, so you’ve nobody left who knows how to bring the system back online. I’ve worked at very small startups, with just 3 people on staff, and we already had redundant databases, so if our main database collapsed, there would be automatic switch over to the redundant backup. And a big operation like British Airways should have a half dozen redundant backups, plus the staff who know how to quickly handle any problems that might arise on switchover.
The only way to get a failure like this, and have it last so long, is to get rid of all the staff who know how to fix the problem.
British Airways originally said the problem was a power surge, but that obviously can’t be true, since most database large systems are designed to keep working smoothly even a large meteor from outer space smashes into your main data center and annihilates it — your redundant databases, and other facilities, should pick up automatically, with the customers never noticing the transition.
The only thing that is true here is that they already know their outside consultants are to blame:
James Wilman, chief executive of the data centre consultancy Future-tech, said: “It’s either bad design or there’s more to the story than just a power surge. You have something specifically that you build in to a data centre called surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this [sort of] incident.”
BA insisted that the computer system outages that grounded hundreds of flights were not linked to ferocious cost-cutting and the outsourcing of work to contractors in its IT department. About 200 IT staff at BA are being made redundant.
But Mick Rix of the GMB union said a contractor was likely to be responsible: “Their procurement department is looking into it – which suggests they know exactly what the cause was and who is to blame.”
It emerged that Theresa May, as home secretary, was warned on several occasions last year of potential risks linked to outsourcing operations to India.
The GMB union wrote to May on four occasions to highlight a potential security risk, warning that potentially sensitive data could be handled offshore and that low-paid IT workers from Tata Consulting Services were being brought in on temporary work visas to replace BA staff.
Asked about the airport chaos at an election campaign press conference in Wolverhampton, May said: “The IT crisis that hit British Airways is predominantly a matter for British Airways.”
She added: “It’s up to them to sort their IT out and to ensure that they are able to provide the services that people expect them to provide as British Airways.”