You couldn't make IT up

  | The Resume Centre

     

It’s a familiar scene. You have a problem with your computer at work or your printer at home and report it to your IT team, systems expert or computer-savvy child. “Have you tried switching it on and off again?” they will invariably ask, usually with a sardonic smile and in a tone of voice the very smart use for talking to the very stupid.

But for IBM Australia the boot is on the other foot after admitting a simple reboot could have avoided a costly and high profile systems outage, which has left them a laughing stock and facing claims for damages.

IBM had partnered with the Australian government to allow the 2016 national census to be completed online. Touting the census website as the future, the Australian government had sought to impress voters with its cybersecurity and plans to experiment with online voting.

However, a 40-hour outage on 9th August left millions of Australians unable to complete the census with rumours of a malicious cyber-attack from unknown mysterious hackers.

The truth behind the systems failure was less James Bond than Mr. Bean as Kerry Purcell, head of IBM Australia, admitted when testifying before a senate hearing looking in to the fiasco. He conceded that the fault could have been detected had they done one very simple thing before the site went live.

“If we had our time again, we would have tested a hard power off, power on again on that router”, he said, “That would have discovered earlier that we had that reboot and configuration load problem”.

The hashtag “censusfail”, which had first appeared after the system outage in August, was soon trending again in Australia.

Social media was full of pictures and gifs from the British sitcom “The IT Crowd”, whilst Buzzfeed Australia described the fiasco as “champagne comedy”.

IBM has apologised and is negotiating a settlement with the Australian government.

Source: BBC