Don't Let Low Bus Factor Scupper Startup

Don’t Let A Low Bus Factor Scupper Your Startup

When first venturing on a new startup, it’s natural to divide responsibilities between founders and early employees. There is so much to be done that there is no time to stop and think about redundancy and replication.

But what is effective in the early stages of a company can cause serious problems later if information is not properly distributed. Just as we wouldn’t engineer our cloud platform with a single point of failure, entrepreneurs should make sure critical information is available to other members of a company in case a founder or employee becomes unavailable.

The more people who know about critical information and processes, the better. There’s a name for this effect: the bus factor. Rather callously, the bus factor refers to the number of people who would have to be hit by a bus for information to be lost.

The lower the bus factor, the higher the risk of important information being lost. It doesn’t have to be a literal bus, of course. A falling out between founders or the firing of an employee, a personal emergency, or a simply loss of interest can put an information bearer at odds with the interests of the company.

When founding a company, it’s often the job of one of the founders — or even an employee — to register a domain name. It’s quite common for that person to register the domain name in their own name. There’s an obvious risk here, but judging by the number of occasions on which I’ve seen this become a serious problem, too few realize the risk. This is one area in which having a high bus factor is crucial.

Another critical area in which information should be shared is infrastructure hosting. For modern startups, cloud infrastructure is key. In two-founder startups, it’s usual for one of the founders to take care of technical details like infrastructure and the other to lead on business acquisition and marketing.

The non-technical founder can be left in a sticky position if knowledge vital to controlling infrastructure leaves the company with the technical founder or an employee

Sharing Data

Cloud infrastructure and services offer a solution to the problem of low bus factors, empowering companies to share and collaborate on information safely and securely.

SaaS password managers can be used to safely store and share business-critical authentication details. Cloud storage offers the same capabilities for documents, including code and documentation for business critical processes.

Avoiding bus-factor problems may be the furthest thing from the mind of an entrepreneur who is fully engaged in creating a new business, but neglecting to share information can result in substantial opportunity costs and lost business later in the company’s life.

Cloud Platforms Sturdy As Old Bridge

How To Build a Resilient Cloud-Based Application

Most cloud platforms are as resilient as an old bridge! On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge connecting West Virginia to Ohio collapsed during rush hour with horrific results. In the ensuing investigation, the cause was discovered to be the failure of a single supporting member. When the bar failed, the bridge collapsed. In the terminology of bridge engineering, Silver Bridge was “fracture critical”. The failure of a single component caused the failure of the entire system. (more…)

The Psychological Bias That Leads To Poor App and Infrastructure Security

The Psychological Bias That Leads To Poor App and Infrastructure Security

If I offered you $10 now and $15 next week, which would you choose? Depending on your personality, you might think the obvious choice is to wait until next week and get 50% more money, but studies in psychology have shown that the majority of people take the money and run.

The effect is called intertemporal discounting, and it — in part — explains why we so often hear about security breaches which could have been avoided. (more…)

NIST’s New Password Guidance Challenges Some Common Practices

NIST’s New Password Guidance Challenges Some Common Practices

Passwords have proven themselves an inadequate method of authentication many times. It’s not necessarily that the concept is flawed: passwords can be secure if the system around them is implemented properly. But a combination of users’ inability to properly choose and manage passwords and developers’ failure to implement secure systems often leads to security breaches. (more…)

Hybrid Server, Dedicated Server, Or Cloud

Hybrid Server, Dedicated Server, Or Cloud: Which Is Right For Your Project?

Choosing the right hosting option for your project is important. It will help ensure you have a positive experience and only pay for the infrastructure you really need.

But finding exactly the right hosting isn’t easy. There’s an almost infinite variety of options, but many of those options have more to do with marketing than the technical attributes of the platform.

At ServerMania, we offer three basic choices for server hosting:



Is A Dedicated Server Or A Cloud Server Best For Your Side Project?

Side projects are increasingly popular among developers. The availability of inexpensive infrastructure makes launching a web app easier than ever. Any developer with an idea can code a minimal viable product and have it up and running in no time at all. Side projects can be an educational experience, a way to make a few extra dollars, or the beginnings of what may become a full-time job. (more…)

How Did OpenStack Help Build Our Cloud

How Did OpenStack Help Us Build Our High Availability Cloud Platform?

When we designed our our public and private cloud products, we needed to choose from several competing “cloud platforms” — the software that runs on top of our bare metal servers and ties them together into a single platform. We had a couple of requirements: it had to be flexible enough for us to use as a foundation for creating our vision of a cloud platform, and it had to be widely used and actively developed. (more…)


Why Is High Availability Important To Your Organization’s Cloud Strategy?

Our cloud platform supports business-critical operations for a huge number of organizations. Those organizations can’t risk having their services offline for even a second, but no server, hard drive, or network connection is 100% reliable — components fail and they fail unpredictably.

I’d like to take a look at some of the work we’ve done to make sure the inevitable failure of a component of our cloud platform has no effect on the performance and uptime of the sites and services it hosts. (more…)