On Monday, 2% of Gmail users, including yours truly, experienced connectivity issues with Google’s email service for an agonizing 18 minutes.
According to Google’s dashboard, “On Monday, 10 December 2012, we experienced an issue with Gmail and some users experienced slow performance or errors. For everyone who was affected, we apologize – we know you count on Google to work for you, and we worked hard to restore normal operation for you. Although our engineering team is still fully engaged on investigation, we are confident we have established the root cause of the event and corrected it.”
E-mail service failures are common, regardless of whether it’s your office server or a webmail provider like Google, Hotmail or Yahoo. When this occurs, what is your plan B? Here are four tactics to keep your business running smoothly during the downtime:
Pick up the phone
While this form of communication may seem archaic for some, you can’t go wrong with this form of communication when the system goes down. If you are waiting on something important, call the other person and let them know you are having e-mail connectivity issues. Be ready to provide that individual with an alternate method to send documents such as via fax or a software system like Evernote.
Sync your files
If e-mail servers are down, you’re traveling or a disaster affects your business, it’s crucial that organization’s become familiar with backing up digital files. There are numerous cloud-based services you can use such as Dropbox. The file-hosting site, which can be accessed via PC, Mac or mobile devices, allows recurrent synchronization of files across the Internet.
Use your social network
With the abundance of technology we have available to use in the workplace, try utilizing LinkedIn, Twitter or Skype as a backup to continue communication. With these platforms, you can send messages and include attachments, if necessary.
Forward your mail
Set up an alternative account on a webmail provider and set a rule to have all of your mail forwarded to this address as backup. That way, if a problem ensues, you can access your inbox and respond to messages from the substitute address.
S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at @sociallyahead