In the midst of the busy summer holiday period, British Airways has been hit with IT issues that have led to numerous flight cancellations, affecting an estimated 25,000 passengers.
The system that controls online check-in and another related to flight departures have both been affected, along with the British Airways app, meaning staff at London airports have had to check-in passengers manually. This has meant around 500 flights have been cancelled or delayed, according to The Guardian.
BA IT issues are the latest in a series of problems
According to BA, the IT issues have now been resolved, but “knock-on operational disruption” is expected.
The latest in a series of problems experienced by the airline, with industrial action planned for earlier this week (which was later suspended.) BA was also hit with record fines of £183m from the Information Commissioner’s Office after its security systems were breached leaving the details of 500,000 customers exposed.
The latest incident highlights the damage software flaws and their consequences can cause to a business. This does not only have financial effects, with the cost of the incident expected to reach £10m, but also in terms of customer trust.
Michael Cade, senior global technologist at Veeam believes that the BA IT issues highlight the technological expectations now placed on businesses:
“Our reliance on technology has hit a point where it has an overwhelming influence on consumer’s trust in a business – and this IT failure is testament to the fact that businesses are now expected to provide uninterrupted access, protect consumer data and recover quickly should the worst happen.
He believes that many businesses are “unable to meet users’ demands for uninterrupted access”:
“British Airways is not alone, this is affecting businesses of all shapes and sizes. Our recent Cloud Data Management report showed that nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses recognise that they still are still unable to meet users’ demands for uninterrupted access to applications and data. This gap is causing business-critical challenges, from damage to customer confidence and brand integrity, right through to losses of hundreds of thousands of pounds an hour.
“It doesn’t matter if loss or lack of access to data is caused by hardware failure, a cyber-attack, or even an employee gone rogue. Customers will not care about what caused an issue; they only want to know if their data is protected and that they’re still able to use services and applications as normal, without interruption, and that requires data availability.”