backup-serversI have been rather absorbed with the problems with Intuit the past couple of days.  They went down tuesday night and we had to switch our payment processing over to paypal during the outage.  Thankfully, we had a backup plan. Our back up plan gets simulated monthly across all systems.  Thankfully it worked when it needed to, but not without the full on efforts of the development team.

I was able to sit down with David Charon of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) last week.  I am not sure how it came up, but he mentioned that his MLS system produces around $250,000 in revenue for participants and subscribers every day. He may have said $150,000 – but the actual number is inmaterial to the point that MLS services are like banking services or merchant account services.  Businesses rely on them every day to service their clients.  In the case of Intuit, businesses could not process payroll direct deposits, or receive payments from customers for nearly 36 hours.  Checks bounced.  I wonder what the true costs were.

Like MLS vendors, Intuit made sales claims of their system redundancy, mirrors, RAID compliance, etc.  But have you tested it?  Have you practiced a backup plan?  As an MLS service provider, I believe that it is your responsibility to have a documented plan in place.  Make sure that the owners of actions in that plan are clearly instructed on their responsibilities, and test it.  Make sure it works.  Turn off the MLS system and bring it online using the backup.  Watch for issues and fix them.  Survey customers to learn if it worked.