Businesses assume that the Internet will always be there when they need it. But a dire warning from the cyber security team at the global consulting firm KPMG shows you why that is no longer the case. And it shows why it's more important than ever for you to build offline capabilities into the mobile apps that you build.
Stephen Bonner, partner in the Cyber Security team at KPMG, warns that Internet blackouts are no longer accidents or isolated incidents—they're inevitabilities. Writing in Info Security, he points out that the Internet is dependent on factors well beyond the control of any business or any single ISP, such as reliable power and cooling, and the security and stability of the physical cables that carry Internet traffic.
Offline Capabilities to Match Growing Complexity and Increasing Data UsageEven more problematic, he says, is that "the loads and complexity of Internet usage is growing exponentially, while the skills and capability to manage the systems is growing (at best) in a linear fashion." And more troublesome still is that in 2013, "more than half of all internet traffic was created by machine-to-machine communication...More and more data is being transferred by an ever-more exotic collection of devices, from smartphones to smart TVs, and from fridges to pacemakers."
The upshot? It's this, he says:
|In the near future, there may be substantial disruption to organizations and entire businesses failing by not appreciating that relying on the Internet means relying on third-party services for which there are no contracts or clear owners… The Internet is incredible, but this shouldn't blind us to the fact that it isn't a traditional utility and the possible risk of prolonged failures.
That's all the more reason that mobile app developers need to build offline capabilities into their apps. As I've written before, that's easy to say, but tough to do. There's a lot you need to keep in mind when writing apps that are built from the ground up to work as well offline as they do online. For advice on how to do it, I advise you to check out Alpha CTO Dan Bricklin's useful article, "Dealing with Disconnected Operation in a Mobile Business Application: Issues and Techniques for Supporting Offline Usage."