Patching software can be like attempting to repair a leaky dam: as soon as you fix one leak, another springs up out of nowhere and divides your attention further.
In the past 12 months there have been many examples of major firms suffering embarrassing software failures. So here are just a few of the most prominent cases of coding calamities bringing companies to their knees.
Nest creates thermostats that sit at the centre of smart homes and allow users to gain control over their central heating wherever they happen to be. But in January of 2016 a bugged update for the service caused a significant dip in battery life and took many customers’ Nest hubs out of action during a particularly chilly part of the year.
Had the Google-owned firm made use of cheap software testing from companies such as mytesters, it might have been able to avoid this unfortunate failure.
Having a cold house can be an irritation, but a glitch which results in the early release of prisoners is a real problem. And that is precisely what happened in the US state of Washington in December of 2015.
Over 3000 inmates walked free sooner than planned because of an error in the way that software monitoring good and bad behaviour behind bars operated. And while average releases were only being pushed forward by 49 days, it is not something that should have been overlooked.
One of the most prominent failures of software in the banking sector last year was suffered by RBS, impacting hundreds of thousands of customers as a result of payments failing to be processed.
This meant that many people and businesses were not paid on time, leading to much consternation and calls for compensation. This overnight issue was resolved relatively quickly, but also did damage to the reputation of the bank in question.
In fact, RBS has been hit with similar glitches in the past and was fined £56 million back in 2012, when a transaction outage led to problems for millions of its customers. So even in the face of the lessons of the past, it seems that software failures can still rear their ugly heads and strike again at some point in the future.