The Network: The Heart of Your Business

 

Your business will not run without the network. Much like a body cannot function without a heart. Our hearts are high on our medical priority list. From a young age, we are taught the importance of a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and diet for the longevity of our hearts.  When there isn’t a problem, the heart is often out of sight and out of mind. We go throughout our day, without a worry in the world. However when something does happen, and our hearts are threatened we realize how vulnerable we really are, and how much we need it.

Like our hearts, the network is often out of sight and out of mind. It works until it doesn’t and when it doesn’t it impacts everything. When it fails, engineers have to find out why, much like cardiologists. Similar to cardiologists, time is of the essence. While they do not have to think about saving human life, they do need to think about the repercussions of having a network outage, and how it affects the business.

Network outages are detrimental to a business’ bottom line. Gartner has reported that network outages cost an estimated $5,600 per minute and up to $300,000 per hour in 2010. However, a recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by Emerson Network Power, suggests that the cost of downtime is rising. The average cost per minute of unplanned downtime is now $7,900, up to a staggering 41% from $5,600 per minute in 2010 previously estimated [1].

Regardless of company size or industry, that is a lot of money. Every facet of the business takes a hit from downtime.  The chart to the right illustrates the costs associated by category and was created based on the findings of the Ponemon Institute [2].

Comparison of Activity Cost Categories
Comparison of 2010, 2013 and 2016 [2]

Network outages, like heart attacks, are unpredictable. A study of 584 U.S based data center professionals found that 91% of data centers have experienced an unplanned data center outage in the past 24 months [3]. The costs associated with the outage are not always predictable either. A 2017 study revealed that out of 400 IT decision makers, 46% experienced more than four hours of IT-related downtime over 12 months. In addition, 23% said that they incurred costs ranging from $12,000 up to more than $1 million per hour. Over 35% surveyed admitted that they are unsure of the cost of an outage to their business [3]. The monetary repercussions of network outages are not the only repercussions. Employee productivity decreases drastically when a business experiences an outage. In 2010, research conducted by Coleman Parkes found that IT downtime incidents collectively cost businesses more than 127 million man-hours per year – an average of 545 man-hours per company – in employee productivity. “This loss is equivalent to 63,500 employees being unable to work for an entire year” [4].

“Over 35% surveyed admitted that they are unsure of the cost of an outage to their business.”

Healthy hearts still fail, which is why IT departments have network monitoring solutions and network engineers to implement those solutions and solve problems. There are two ways in which network teams can go about this. They can implement break-fix solutions, or use a proactive network tool. The break-fix scenario is exactly how it sounds, the network needs to break in order to fix it. Compare it to a sudden heart attack, and the break-fix solution is open heart surgery. The other direction they can go in is a proactive network tool. These solutions alert you to potential problems before they become major issues. This gives the team a chance to fix the problem before it actually occurs.

 

So you’re at a crossroads. Do you use a solution once something goes wrong? Or do you use a proactive network monitoring solution to alert you to things that are about to fail and fix them before you do? Treat the scenario like your heart. Would you rather wait for something to go wrong and then try and fix it? Or would you monitor it, and want to be alerted in case something could go wrong?
 

Sources:

[1] Evolven, “Downtime, Outages, and Failures – Understanding Their True Costs (2016)

[2] Ponemon Institute, “Cost of Data Center Outages” (2016)

[3] Databarracks, “Data Center Downtime Costs $7,900 Per Minute”  (2013)

[4] CIO INSIGHT, “14 Hours” (2011)

 

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