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Global internet, app outages spike, disrupting work hours for more users

This new weekly feature from S&P Global Market Intelligence, in collaboration with internet-service monitoring company ThousandEyes, aims to give remote workers insights into Internet service disruptions that could impact their virtual commute.

Outages of internet service and collaboration applications that support work-from-home employees spiked the week ended Oct. 9, including a notable outage at Slack Technologies Inc. that lasted a full business day for some workers.

Globally, outages jumped 66% week over week to 291 between Oct. 3 and Oct. 9, marking the largest percentage increase since April, according to data from ThousandEyes, a network-monitoring service owned by Cisco Systems Inc. In the U.S., outages rose 47% week over week to 134.

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ThousandEyes monitors outages and other issues affecting internet service providers, public-cloud providers, content delivery networks, domain name services and other online services.

Slack users began to experience problems with the collaboration app, including outages and system-unavailable error messages, starting at about 10 a.m. ET on Oct. 5. Slack attributed the issues to a problem with its back-end servers. There were no observed problems with any of the networks or public cloud servers that connect the application to the internet, according to ThousandEyes. Slack said the problem was fixed as of about 4:40 p.m. ET on Oct. 5.

The week overall also saw an unusually high percentage of outages that occurred during business hours, including the Slack disruption. In the U.S., roughly a third of overall outages, or 34%, occurred during business hours for the week. That is up from 27% in the prior week.

The bulk of outages in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, the Middle East and Africa were recorded outside of business hours, most of which would have manifested as slow or unresponsive applications or sites.

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Aside from outages, there were several instances of performance degradation in part of the internet backbone supporting connections to networks in the Western U.S. region during the middle of the week, likely due to high levels of traffic. None were serious enough to have a noticeable impact on end-users, according to ThousandEyes.