Life Events Diary Availability

Dear Life Events Diary user,

We thank you for your patience whilst the Life Events Diary was unavailable. We realise it was extremely frustrating for those wanting to access the LED but were unable to do so.  Downtime of web services is something that no one wants particularly when that information is needed and unavailable for a prolonged period.

The LED has now been running successfully tonight and I wanted to write and let you know what happened and the steps that are being taken to prevent it from happening again.  We value your trust and we want to be completely transparent about what happened. 

First of all, to be clear, this was not a data issue and at no time was any of your data at risk. As we take security so seriously, all sensitive data on our iKnow Church servers is encrypted with 256bit encryption (the same level of encryption as banks and financial institutions).

The iKnow Church servers are hosted by Microsoft Azure - a leading provider of cloud based servers which allow for extra levels of security. This includes keeping personal data behind an extra layer of security and completely separate from the web facing servers. If that means nothing to you, then don’t worry - we work on security in consultation with external security specialists to ensure that you need not fear for the security of your data.

Yesterday, an update to the server operating systems was added to the hard drives.  As part of the update, the electronic agent did not do a graceful reboot but what is called a ‘dirty shutdown’. This caused a corruption of the file system rendering the drives unavailable. This situation was completely out of our hands and we had to rely on our cloud hosting company who worked with Microsoft to resolve this issue.

Significant time was spent to restore the drives so that they could be brought back, running and serving LED, iKnow Church and you. A number of different methods were tried by our hosting company in correspondence with Microsoft, but the shutdown had caused a deep corruption on the drives holding the operating system.  When this proved to be impossible to do, the backup from the previous day was then restored to new drives. Due to the volume of data this took some time, though when complete, it meant that our software was able to serve once again.

Going forward
We want to ensure that the LED is always available and situations like this do not happen again. Over the next few weeks we will be adding a mirror of our servers which will not receive the Operating System update at the same time, thus preventing this situation from happening again. This will also add additional load balancing capabilities to our servers.

Whilst the cause of this incident was outside of our control, this issue has really affected us personally, as we know we have let you down. For that we are truly sorry. We will work with our suppliers and providers to ensure that you always have access to iKnow and have a truly positive experience as we continue to develop our tools, innovating and developing new solutions for you.

We apologise again and do thank you for your valued custom. 

With best regards

Kyle Cottington
iKnow Church Managing Director.  

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