Complexity, Change and Human Factors Key to Network Outages

November 18, 2016

By Michael Guta - Contributing Writer

Our reliance on network is such that, in today's digital environment, even the shortest outage can have a devastating impact depending on what services are affected. Public organizations that provide electricity, water, sewage treatment and air traffic control are but a few of the examples for critical infrastructure services. As for private enterprises, financial, retail and entertainment businesses can suffer monetary and reputational damage to the brand if customers are not able to access the services they need. Suffice it to say, networks are the bloodline for the vast majority of organizations in existence, so managing outages and vulnerabilities is extremely important.

The latest report published by Veriflow and carried out by Dimensional Research, titled “Network Complexity, Change, and Human Factors Are Failing the Business” looked at 315 network professionals to determine their experiences with network outages, vulnerabilities and compliance.

Dimensional Research conducted a global study in which network professionals were surveyed to determine how they are coping with the dramatic change and complexity that is taking place in the industry. The report revealed what measures were being taken to address network uptime, availability, security and compliance requirements.

There were three key factors that were responsible for the problems operators were facing.

The first one was network outages that were caused because of human factors, which was acknowledged by 97 percent of the respondents. And in most cases, these types of outages took place frequently throughout the year, and resolving the issue oftentimes took many hours, before and after it was reported.

In addressing this very issue, James Brear, president and CEO of Veriflow, said, “It's clear that many organizations settle for suboptimal network management solutions, thus costing them hours to report and resolve network issues. This problem highlights the importance of having a solution that predicts the impacts of network changes, identifies outages and vulnerabilities, and accelerates resolution time of network issues.”

The next factor was network changes and complexity, which was indicated by 74 percent of the respondents. This also resulted in several outages every year, as 69 percent of respondents rely on manual processes even though there are automation tools available in the marketplace.

Compliance requirement is the last factor, which revealed a contradicting data point. Although three quarters of survey respondents have the necessary network compliance solutions in place to protect the data and systems, 80 percent said they lack full confidence the system is in full compliance. Eighty-three percent also said the compliance reporting requires manual effort, which may be responsible for the lack of confidence in the system they have in place.

“There are persistent vulnerabilities as well, with widespread uncertainty about the network's compliance and segmentation. It's not surprising that network professionals are looking for solutions that provide more actionable intelligence about the network,” said Brighten Godfrey, CTO at Veriflow.

The key in resolving these issues is to have solutions that are able to predict impending network outages, accelerate issue resolution, automate compliance reporting, and pinpoint network segmentation and micro-segmentation vulnerabilities.

Edited by Alicia Young

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