Last Friday night Google’s Gmail service suffered an outage. On Sunday Lloyds Bank’s system crashed and people were left unable to use their cards. In a world of huge investment in IT systems, why should it be so fragile?

The answer, like the IT systems themselves, tends to be complex. The Google failure appears to be a software bug that their system automatically sent around to all their servers; once they fixed it, it fixed itself very quickly. For “software bug” read “human error”.

One report on the Lloyds failure said that it was caused by multiple server failure. You can build in lots of resilience, but if two or three things fail together, you are snookered.

All in all, it’s a reminder that nothing in life (or IT) is perfect. As the old saying goes, it’s not the problem, it’s what you do about it that counts. Like Lloyds and Google, Riverbank is here to make its clients’ IT as reliable as possible. And to respond swiftly and effectively when things do go off piste.