network outages

How to deal with the nightmare of network outages

Reducing network outages is becoming increasingly critical area of focus for enterprises. Today we live in a time that demands always-on network availability. Even a minute’s downtime in mission-critical applications can cost an enterprise a fortune and ruin their brand reputation.

‘A single minute of IT downtime costs $5,600,’ said a report by Gartner, back in 2014. The enterprise IT infrastructure has continued to grow more complex since then, with nearly every business riding on critical digital infrastructure. How much downtime will cost the company depends on the severity of the impact on critical systems and how efficiently the enterprise can function without them.

A lot of research has been done to estimate the cost of downtime for an enterprise. According to a 2021 report from Veeam, the estimated average financial impact of an hour-long IT outage is $85,000. Research published at TechChannel indicates that for almost half of businesses, the costs of downtime exceeds $1 million per hour, at least during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data compiled by Statista support the latter claim.

With a little planning and strategic investment in uptime-enhancing measures, businesses can protect themselves from these unnecessary costs and, more importantly, retain their valued customers and brand reputation.

3 key steps in reducing network outages

There are three fundamental steps that, if followed diligently, can help significantly reduce network downtime and minimise impact in the case of network outages.

  1. Regular server backups: The obvious benefit of backing up data is to keep data losses at a minimum. Backing up your server also enables the data centre team to bring it back on quickly before it can damage other critical systems. The 3-2-1 backup rule should always be kept in mind: keep 3 copies of data; store 2 copies on different/separate storage media; with 1 copy to be stored offsite in a safe place.

It is also a good practice to test these regularly to ensure that everything works as planned in a real crisis scenario.

  1. Round-the-clock network monitoring: A network outage is most often preceded by early warning signs that can be detected by a data centre expert enabling them to initiate an effective response before a full-scale outage can happen. But this requires 24x7x365 monitoring, beyond the scope of traditional network monitoring. There are intelligent monitoring systems available that can do this level of monitoring efficiently.
  2. Make redundancy your friend: However well prepared a business is, natural disasters or other such uncontrollable events that can cause your network to be disrupted, should not be left to chance. There are three essential steps to prepare for such a situation: 
  1. Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS): This needs to be the first line of defence. In the event of an uncontrollable disaster, the UPS will protect critical hardware and manage uptime until the generators come back on.
  2. Multiple internet connections with automatic failover: A second service provider should be engaged as a backup bandwidth provider who can provide sufficient bandwidth to keep your operations running smoothly.
  3. Co-located servers: While smaller businesses can rely on cloud storage, most need a full co-location of servers that is robust enough to serve all their business needs. These servers also need regular testing and maintenance to ensure they are ready for a challenge when the need arises.

In conclusion

Even with all the necessary precautions in place, it could become exhausting for the internal IT team to deal with all the required checks and maintenance. A reasonable approach is to hand over the end-to-end management to a professional global data centre and networking optimization partner, so that the enterprise IT teams are left free to focus on more strategic work. A trusted specialist partner can ensure that every step is flawlessly planned and executed.

Jordan MacPherson, Director of Product Operations
Supriya Rai | DATAQUEST

The article has been written by Jordan MacPherson, Director of Product Operations, Park Place Technologies

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