Revere to the rescue: Cybera’s new network alerts system

Network outages are never a pleasant experience, but they are even worse when you’re left in the dark and don’t know a) If the problem is on the local network, b) Whether anyone is looking into the problem, or c) What might be causing it. This used to be the case for some of Cybera’s members. We try to issue outage notifications as soon as possible, but traditionally, this could only be done via email (which required us to update our email list on a regular basis). This created several problems. For starters, members whose email servers were on-premise were unable to receive emails during a network disruption. Secondly, if there was staff turnover at one of our member institutions, and this was not communicated to us, the wrong person or even no member representative was alerted. These problems have now been resolved through our new alerting system called Revere.

Revere is capable of simultaneously issuing messages by voice, email, and text. Cybera initially used it as an alerting system for one of our other projects. From there, we expanded the functionality to meet the needs of our network team. It now accommodates adding multiple email addresses for each member representative, and sending out longer email communications. It also provides our members with self-serve functionality for adding, removing, and modifying their accounts.

Today, Revere is able to send out alerts via:

  • Email: to primary work email addresses, as well as multiple secondary addresses, including personal accounts

  • Voice calls

  • SMS messages

The application is now in production and is hosted outside of Cybera’s network, to ensure that alerts can be communicated with members even when our network is unavailable. Cybera is considering open sourcing the application and extending its functionality to allow members to configure their own internal notification channels.

Process during an outage

  1. As early as possible in the outage, Cybera will use Revere to send a message to acknowledge that there is an outage, and ask members to consult our network status page. This will ensure that all members know that Cybera is aware of the outage and is working to resolve the issue.

  2. The network status page will be updated regularly with current information and additional details.

  3. At the conclusion of the outage, Cybera will inform members via Revere that the network service interruption has been resolved.

While we are excited to have this new tool in hand, we hope to rarely use it. Let us know what you think of Revere and if you have any suggestions for future development or improvements!

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