October 03, 2019
Unplanned network downtime remains a top challenge for organisations of all sizes, from small to medium-sized businesses to large enterprises.
The Uptime Institute has been tracking publicly-recorded data centre outages over the last few years, and has found that significant outages are happening almost every day across the world.
According to the Uptime Institute, network and IT systems were the leading causes of publicly recorded data centre outages between 2016 and 2018 at 27% and 29%, respectively. Other leading causes included power (24%); fire (5%); security (4%), fire suppression (2%); and cooling/mechanical (1%).
Smaller organisations are the most vulnerable to unplanned outages, as they typically lack the resources to bounce back. But the impact can be just as devastating for a large enterprise, depending on the duration and scope of the outage. The total cost of network downtime can vary drastically depending on the business and industry.
Unfortunately, this problem is only going to get worse in the coming years as networks continue to increase in size and complexity. Organisations that don’t plan effectively for downtime will are in danger of experiencing significant, large-scale outages that threaten to bring operations to a standstill—from internal communication to research to production to customer service.
There is no single way to prevent unplanned network downtime. Rather, businesses need to incorporate a variety of safeguards.
Some of these include:
Real-time monitoring: Global organisations need to invest in technologies that centralize network monitoring and management. Administrators, for instance, can now use SD-WAN to control network traffic and support mission critical applications. It’s also important to use real-time troubleshooting and power management solutions, which can scan a network in real-time and provide detailed reports on the health and status of individual devices. Networks are very complex, and so comprehensive proactive troubleshooting is a must.
Co-location: It’s hard enough maintaining uptime in one location; maintaining uptime across numerous global locations is another story. Each new location will pose countless new risks.
Global organisations are strongly advised to use colocation to protect critical infrastructure and data, and ensure prompt disaster recovery. A business should be able to maintain uptime throughout any type of local weather event or incident.
Layered security: Security absolutely must be at the center of an uptime strategy. New threats are emerging by the day that could lead to prolonged outages. Unfortunately, it’s no longer realistic to think that you can completely prevent intruders from breaching your network.
Instead, businesses need to integrate a layered defense strategy which incorporates around-the-clock security monitoring, DDoS protection, firewalls and more.
It’s much safer, and more cost-effective, to outsource network security to a managed security services provider. This will free in-house IT teams to focus on other pressing issues. At the same time, the business will benefit from having an experienced security team on staff working 24/7.
Of course, these are just a few strategies to reduce network downtime. Maintaining uptime is a full time job, which is why many businesses are turning to providers like PCCW Global for help.