Network downtime, why you should be concern about it

02 Oct 2020

There are a lot of downtimes and outages worldwide on a daily basis. However, many organisations don’t realise about network downtime’s damages and problems, until it actually happens.

Industries such as Telecom, Internet service providers, Power&Utilities, Public entities deliver mission-critical services. Thereby, they need to protect their network infrastructure and assure that the communication services are running properly in order to deliver the customers’ expected service.

According to the Gartner research (2014) elaborated by Andrew Lerner,  the cost of a network downtime costs on average $5,600 per minute, which means $330,000 per hour. Regardless of your industry or company size, the downtime even for a few minutes significantly impacts any business. 

What is the impact of the network downtime on your business? 

Mitigating the network downtime could be very costly and every passing minute matters. The prolongated outage can drive you to: 

  • Significant revenue losses 
  • High repair costs 
  • Lower employee productivity 
  • Reputation damages 
  • Data leaks 

TOP 5 network downtime causes 

Human errors  

As your network becomes more complex, the probability of human error increases. 

When managing mission-critical networks manual processes such as manual settings, distractions and stress are the main reasons for a human error. Likewise, it is important to highlight that cyber criminals use social engineering to introduce malware through advanced phishing techniques.  

To avoid human errors, it is essential to automate complex tasks, to monitor the activities, to elaborate procedures, to deliver training to your team, as well as to define a proper planning.  

Configuration changes

Incorrect configuration changes and manual settings can drive you to a prolongated outages. 

In a multi-vendor environment there are different elements from different vendors and technologies. It is critical to be able to make them work properly between each other. Thereby, it is important to be able to create circuits in a fast, secure, and controlled way.  

In IP networks routing issues are the most common. When talking about IP technology there are not circuits, there are routing tables instead (depending on data destination). Routing tables are dynamic and if a network link goes down, they can be reconfigured in order to send the information by an alternative route. However, if the configuration is not correct by selecting an alternative route the information can be sent to other not desired areas there you can lose your data. 

Outdated and old equipment  

It is difficult to mix in the same network old equipment with a current OS and software upgrades. Old equipment which is often outdated, affects the network performance and its functioning. This occurs due to these obsolete equipment no longer support the latest OS updates. 

As a time passes, the network evolves and incorporates new equipment and new systems. Frequently, businesses manage an installed legacy equipment that could have been installed more than 20 years ago with a new systems and devices. Therefore, network management becomes very difficult to handle.  

It is known, the compatibility it is a tedious problem. In order to avoid that, you would need to make sure you have a proper network management system (NMS) to carry out network inventory and plan regularly upgrades.

Security threats and cyber attacks 

Nowadays, numerous cybersecurity threats exist. For this reason, it is critical to be able to detect anomalies in data traffic, determine increased resource consumption and avoid unauthorised accesses.  

DDoS attacks are the most used by cyber criminals to impact your network performance, making you lose the control. Tools such as IDS (Intrusion Detection System), firewalls, VPN, among others, help you to prevent cyber security threats and DDoS attacks.  

Furthermore, hackers often attempt to attack through outdated systems. Hence, it is essential to keep in mind that your systems need to be updated. 

Power Failures

Teleprotection is a key system for Utilities, that protects their networks from a power failure and fault propagation through the network. 

Additionally, in case the power failure occurs, you need to assure your backup systems supply enough energy to keep running your infrastructure. So, you could solve the problem in the shortest time possible.  

Downtimes do not give us a warning. Even if you have off-grid generation capacity you should prevent a fuel lack or a low batteries charge.  

The most highlighted cases of a system downtimes  

2012- India Blackout  

In 2012 several blackouts left more than 400 million people in India without power supply. The collapse was produced by several reasons, such us: insufficient private off-grid generation capacity, lack of good disaster recovery plan, problems with teleprotection systems and others numerous failures. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_India_blackouts  

2016- Delta Air Lines 

In 2018 one of the major airlines of USA suffered a serious downtime in its network. The cause of the outage was that the equipment fault that was affecting to a data centre. As a result, thousands of flights were cancelled and the company faced a huge economic impact. https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/08/delta-data-center-outage-cost-us-150m  

2018- O2 

In 2018 a serious outage was produced in O2 affecting over 30 million mobile services users in United Kingdom. The company lasted almost the entire day to solve the problem and restart the service. The reason was produced by the NE fault due to expired certificate versions. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46499366  

2018- CenturyLink 

One of the biggest outages in 2018 belongs to CenturyLink as the company lasted two days in solve the problem. 

The fault was caused by an incorrect configuration that was impacting the data centre. The network management card was transmitting invalid frame packets through the infrastructure. The problem spread through most of the communications infrastructure. 

As a result, many users could not contact the emergency phone, withdraw money from ATMs, use Internet services … etc. 

It was difficult to solve that network fault, as the company lost the visibility of its network while trying to solve the error.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/28/18159110/centurylink-internet-911-outage-fcc-investigating    

2018- Microsoft 

In 2018 in Dublin, Ireland Microsoft suffered 10 hour outage in their Azure Cloud services. As a result, their B2B customers were seriously affected. The reason of the fault was the weather conditions that was affecting to the service which started to experiment performance issues as the temperature and humidity increased. https://www.theregister.com/2018/06/22/azure_north_europe_downed_by_pleasant_weather/  

Go one step further in your network management 

Our network management software helps you to prevent network downtimes and outages. Even your network is composed by legacy equipment, our solution allows you to carry out configuration changes in a controlled way, as well as, to solve incompatibility problems by means of multi-vendor and multi-technology management.  

Do you want to know more? Do not hesitate contacting us

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