Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cloud Computing Dangers: A Case of the Mondays

This posting is Part 8 of the Case Study in Cloud Computing Dangers.

We started the business day on May 14, 2012 finally able to send email to the primary contractor on our VA project, but not to the VA email accounts. This development was not an indication that Day 5 represented the end of our outgoing mail Denial-of-Service between our Office 365 cloud service and just about any mail gateway using Cisco devices or any other devices that used senderbase.org to receive SPAM reputation scoring. The organization had simply been shamed (either within or without) into lowering its SPAM blocking threshold to allow any email through that was rated Neutral. Not only was the organization the victim of being unable to receive legitimate email from business partners and clients, it was forced into a making a business decision that would allow more malicious messages to pass through the gateway. It was not a good sign.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cloud Computing Dangers: Blame When Things Go Wrong

This posting is Part 7 of the Case Study in Cloud Computing Dangers.

When technology problems occur, IT folks will typically focus first on finding a technical solution. It's in our nature because solving technical problems is what we've been trained to do. Waking up on Sunday, May 13 to find ourselves still suffering from an outgoing mail Denial-of-Service on our Office 365 business platform, we were in disbelief that the technical problem still had not been solved. Our challenge was to move past our confidence in understanding the problem's technical nature and to recognize that we were falling victim to a broader issue of being unable to assign responsibility in a massively distributed communications system.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cloud Computing Dangers: False Hope

This posting is Part 6 of the Case Study in Cloud Computing Dangers.

On Saturday, May 12, as my company continued to suffer from an Office 365 outgoing mail Denial-of-Service, I woke up to an email a colleague sent me from the primary contractor that we were unable to communicate with. A test message that I had sent at 3:33 PM on Thursday, May 10 had been received at 2:24 AM Saturday morning. Despite a transit time of just under 36 hours, I was elated to discover that a message had gotten through. Perhaps Microsoft was really true to its word and we could expect to have the problem resolved soon so that we could move on with our lives. Or, perhaps it was just a fluke since I hadn't seen any other messages get through.