Mind Your T’s and C’s

Parler, the “free speech” social media platform, has filed suit against Amazon after the cloud provider cut off the application from its AWS hosting services as of January 10th, 2021 at 11:59 pm.

The social media app, popular with conservatives, has come under scrutiny after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The suit alleges that Amazon’s action to cut Parler off from Amazon Web Services is politically motivated.

Amazon has responded to the suit, siting that Parler’s claims have no merit. According to the cloud provider, Parler had been notified of 98 instances of "posts that clearly encourage and incite violence." These violations left Parler in violation of the Terms and Conditions set forth in their contract with Amazon, and therefore warranted the suspension of services in the eyes of Amazon.

Politically motivated or not, this case is a reminder to that the relationship between organization’s and their third parties goes both ways. Mutual respect and communication can do wonders to nurture a healthy business relationship. This communication could prevent losing a critical third party and strengthen your business continuity posture when relying on third parties.

One industry best practice control that should be considered is the completion of a Business Impact Analysis (BIA), at least annually. A BIA is a systematic process to determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to critical business operations as a result of a disaster, accident or emergency. As a part of this exercise, it is important to identify alternative parties that may be able to replace each third party should a business relationship fracture or services are not elected to continue. Alternative parties may be identified as another third party or an in-house solution via an existing internal business unit.

This is a public reminder of the importance of being proactive as Parler initially struggled to bring their application back from the dead and move their infrastructure to another hosting platform.  The “free speech” platform has since found a hosting partner; however, the site will most likely face a few weeks of downtime before its return as the company transitions its infrastructure.  Parler has certainly learned their lesson after being caught off guard, and we would all be remiss not to learn from this case.

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This article is part of a series exploring the importance of third-party risk management programs, you can view additional articles below.

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