Starbucks Outage Punctuates the Cost of Business Network Failures

The coffee giant Starbucks brought the cost of ignoring proper computer and network security and maintenance to national attention when it suffered a major computer system failure. Thousands of its stores–actually, about eight thousand– across the United States and Canada closed early on a Friday in late April. Due to a network outage, cashiers were unable to accept payment. Some stores closed, others simply gave away their coffee.

Signs on the counters at Starbucks retail vendors announced that debit was unavailable. Starbucks employees couldn’t access cash drawers during the outage either because they are computer-controlled. The company resolve the outage late that Friday night, after several hours of downtime. The glitch affected registers at 7,400 company-operated stores in the U.S. and 1,000 in Canada.

Starbucks said “a failure during a daily system refresh” caused the outage. A company spokesman reassured the public that the problem was an internal issue that didn’t entail an external security breach, reported the Christian Science Monitor.

It’s speculated that each store may have lost about 10 percent of its total daily revenue during the sales processing computer outage. If those rough estimates are correct, Starbucks lost around $3 million on Friday due to the computer problems, according to calculations published by GeekWire.

It’s unthinkable to operate any business without the assistance and support of technology. But, the Starbucks incident reminds us all to review the questions:

  • How secure is my computer system?
  • Is my business data backed up?
  • What’s my plan-of-action if a network outage strikes?

Let us bring the latest technology to bear on your important business transactions. Our network support is award-winning.

We hope you’ll contact us to review your computer and network security before an expensive and damaging outage hurts your budget and your reputation.