Before students around the world can embrace summer vacation, they must first endure final exams. This time-tested tradition brings late night cram sessions, the regurgitation of facts and figures, nail biting and sweaty palms. For those who work hard, final exams can build character. And for those who started their summer break too early, there’s an easier option: cheating.
As the spouse of a teacher, I know cheating is a major concern in classrooms around the world. Teachers have a variety of tricks to prevent this including watching their students like hawks, giving out different tests, not allowing labeled bottled drinks or even requiring an ID before entering the room.
Of course, some countries take their prevention measures to the extreme. Iraq literally shut off the internet and Algeria blocked Twitter and Facebook. All of this in an effort to prevent cheating. Yikes!
This is a great reminder of a couple of things:
The internet is a tool. A tool is only as valuable as the hands it is in. It can be used for bad purposes. It can also be used to transform the world. I look at stories like how Land O’Lakes is leveraging data to help their farmers grow better crops or how a VR view of the earth could change how we treat each other and I think about the limitless potential of the internet.
The internet, however, will not reach that potential if people can’t trust that it is dependable and reliable.
But the internet, by its very nature, is not 100% dependable. Whether it is a government shutting it down for cheating or a cable cut or a malicious attacker, the internet is volatile and ever-changing.
But the good thing is that you really can own the internet – and it’s not cheating. It involves understanding how it works and creating a strategy to ensure the performance of the internet but you can do it.
The second thing I find interesting is that many of us read about the exploits of the Iraqi and Algerian governments and laugh because we think it has no impact on us. But the internet is a global network and what happens in one location can impact another.
Look at this infographic we made for Buzzfeed a couple of years back. If you’re in Europe and you want to do business with Asia Pacific – you know that place with the fastest growing population of internet users – then you should take it very seriously if Iraq shuts off the internet. Or you had better at least have a backup plan.
Here’s some quick tips for that plan:
- Never rely on just one pathway to the internet
- Set up constant monitoring on key asset
- Use steering tools to quickly reroute traffic in the event of an outage
- Employ failover solutions, like Secondary DNS, to prevent outright outage
- In best-case, implement Internet Performance Management solutions to prevent outages from ever happening
Your end-user’s experience on your web properties is your company’s final exam. Are you going to properly study and be prepared to pass with flying colors or are you going to be unprepared and risk failing? And remember cheating is never an option.