Key causes of network outages and vulnerabilities

A new global study, conducted by Dimensional Research, surveyed 315 network professionals about their experiences with network outages, vulnerabilities and compliance.

How frequently does human error lead to network outages?

network outages

Among the report’s findings, there is almost universal agreement that human factors lead to network outages, and in many cases these outages are quite frequent. Participants report numerous outages occur every year associated with changes to the network and identify growing complexity of the network as a contributing factor. When an issue does occur, hours typically pass before the issue is reported, and once reported, it requires hours more to resolve.

Although human factors cause incidents, ironically the most common methods used to protect the network from such errors are also manual. Event and flow monitoring solutions are also commonly used. “Respondents, however, are saying their monitoring solutions fail to predict most incidents,” said Brighten Godfrey, CTO at Veriflow. “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.”

“Our goal with this survey was to capture how network professionals balanced increased network complexity and required changes with network uptime, availability, security and compliance requirements,” said James Brear, president and CEO of Veriflow. “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.”

Manual processes cause issues on back end

As networks grow in complexity, the number of network outages tends to increase as well, according to more than half of respondents (59 percent). Considering the various methods to ensure proper network operation, 69 percent of respondents rely on manual processes, such as inspecting devices via the command line interface (CLI), inspecting configurations and performing manual traceroutes or pings, as one of their main solutions. Furthermore, the majority (two thirds) state that less than half of all network issues are predicted by monitoring. The popularity of manual checks and monitoring compared to predictive solutions indicates many possible inefficiencies in network management.

How often does a network change lead to a network outage or performance issue?

network outages

Compliance requirements, perception and lack of automation

Three quarters of survey respondents say their organization has network compliance requirements in place to ensure privacy and security of data and systems. Despite this majority, 80 percent lack full confidence that their network is always compliant, and 83 percent said that compliance reporting requires manual effort.

Predictive solutions highly valued

Given continual issues with network outages and vulnerabilities, respondents agreed on a few key traits they would like to see in an ideal network solution:

  • 87 percent highly value a solution that predicts impending network outages
  • 85 percent highly value a solution that accelerates network issue resolution
  • 79 percent highly value continuous verification of compliance and automation of compliance reporting
  • 86 percent highly value the ability to pinpoint network segmentation and micro-segmentation vulnerabilities.

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