Internet Disruptions and Global Web Audiences

Several undersea telecommunications cables were cut in the Middle East/South Asia region last week. Networks from Egypt to India were impacted, creating very slow to broken connections. Outsource operations in India were a big concern but the large players had alternate connections available as part of their disaster response.

There has been a lot of speculation as to how the cables were cut and no ships have been identified yet in the areas where the cables were severed. John Robb posted today about how cutting undersea cables is a viable strategy for small groups to execute in a system disruption campaign.

All of which made me think about organizations who address a global audience via their web sites. If Robb is right, this kind of disruption could be become more frequent. If you have a large audience for your site outside your own region, you should consider how to ameliorate this risk in advance.

What could you do? The main thing I can think of is to distribute the hosting of your web sites around the globe, either by maintaining mirrored sites or deploying localized sites in their target regions. Locally deployed sites in key regions would provide you with continued service to those audiences even if they are disconnected from the Internet as a whole for a period of time. This is a non-trivial effort but if serving global audiences is a key part of achieving your goals, it could be a good investment against future disruption and associated losses.

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