When the digital world is out of order

Short thesis

The age of digitisation has long been upon us. Companies therefore face major challenges in terms of security and IT-quality. The human factor plays a key role here. A typing error in the programming for “Amazon Web Services” (AWS) paralysed large parts of the Internet for several hours in 2017 causing 150 million dollars cost. Thus, one addressed subsystem accidentally took two other subsystems out of the network. This incident clearly demonstrates how dependent we are on just a few service providers. Only through jointly defined standards the reliability and stability of the entire Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry can be ensured.


According to IDC, by 2020 there will be 30 billion devices within the 'Internet of Things' communicating with one another. As such, digital transformation will involve major challenges – both for IT and for those who provide it. Only when IT is completely reliable, networking and digitalization of products and processes can unlock new potential for the economy, for businesses and for people. To put it bluntly, without the highest standards in quality and security, further digitisation of our economy will pose a sizeable risk because many processes are already dependent on IT today. What standards need to be defined in refer to IT quality and security - and furthermore for our digitizing economy? What risks do we need to consider in regards to already existing IT dependencies?

With the "Zero Outage" initiative we would like to give you an example for an industry standard which was designed to prevent future outages by sharing industry best practices in how to improve stability and security. What happened so far and how do we proceed? What criteria need to be defined to create a joint standard and thus maximise reliability and stability not only across the entire ICT industry – but for all industries. The human factor in particular will become increasingly important in the future. That’s why we would like to talk to you and think out loud.