MYOB Outage - Lessons for Small Business

September 3, 2023
minutes to read
Warren More

In today's digitally driven world, accounting software is vital in helping businesses manage their finances efficiently. MYOB, a prominent name in the accounting software industry, recently suffered from a major outage caused by Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing platform. This blog will delve into the details of the MYOB outage and the lessons you can apply as a small business.

MYOB Outage: When Did it Happen?

MYOB is a widely used accounting software that serves hundreds of thousands of businesses across Australia. While it has been a reliable tool for many, the outage that occurred on Wednesday night, 30 August, raised concerns and highlighted the vulnerabilities that even established software providers can face.

Azure, which powers many critical online services, suffered a significant outage that impacted the operation of MYOB's software. This outage left MYOB users unable to access their financial data and conduct essential accounting tasks, causing disruptions and frustrations for many businesses.

MYOB Outage: What Caused It?

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that offers businesses a wide range of services. It provides the infrastructure and resources needed to run applications and services, making it a popular choice for companies like MYOB that rely on cloud technology.

However, even the most robust cloud platforms are not immune to issues. The Azure outage that affected MYOB was a stark reminder that downtime can happen to anyone.

On 30 August 2023, MYOB's cloud service provider, Microsoft Azure, experienced a database outage due to a failure at their NSW Data Centre. This outage caused disruption for some customers of Essentials, MYOB Business and AccountRight Live. 

The outage had a significant impact on MYOB users. Businesses that rely on MYOB for critical financial tasks, including payroll processing, expense tracking, and financial reporting, could not use the platform, causing delays and potential financial losses.

MYOB Outage: Customer Response

In the wake of the outage, MYOB took several steps to address the situation and minimise the impact on its users. Over a few days, MYOB worked closely with Microsoft Azure to diagnose the impacts of the outage and return services to normal.

During the outage, MYOB employed proactive measures, including communicating with customers, providing outage updates on a status page, and working diligently to restore services as quickly as possible.

MYOB Outage: Lessons for Small Business

Here are five key lessons that small businesses can take away from the MYOB outage, how MYOB handled it, and how to reduce the impact of outages caused by cloud service providers:

  • Diversify Your Cloud Strategy: Small businesses should consider diversifying their cloud service providers or having backup plans in place. Relying solely on one provider can leave you vulnerable to outages if they occur.
  • Robust Disaster Recovery Plans: Develop and regularly test robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans. These plans should include contingencies for cloud service outages, ensuring your business can continue operating with minimal disruption.
  • Effective Communication: MYOB's response to the outage highlighted the importance of clear and timely communication with customers. Small businesses should establish effective communication channels to inform clients during service interruptions, setting realistic expectations for resolution times.
  • Cloud Service Redundancy: Consider implementing redundancy and failover solutions within your cloud architecture. This means having backup systems and data centres in place to ensure uninterrupted service in case of an outage with your primary cloud provider.
  • Regularly Review Contracts and SLAs: Review and understand the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and contracts with your cloud service providers. Ensure they have adequate provisions for compensation or service credits in case of extended outages. Negotiate terms that align with your business's needs and expectations.

By applying these lessons, small businesses can better prepare themselves to handle cloud service outages effectively, minimise disruptions, and maintain a positive image in the eyes of their customers.

Key Takeaways

The MYOB outage caused by Azure serves as a reminder that even the most reliable software providers can face downtime and disruptions. It underscores the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity planning for businesses relying on cloud-based services. While MYOB worked diligently to resolve the issue and minimise the impact on its users, this incident highlights the need for businesses to have contingency plans when relying on third-party cloud platforms like Azure.

As technology continues to evolve, so do the challenges that businesses face. MYOB's experience with the Azure outage is a valuable lesson in the importance of preparedness and resilience in the digital age.

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