How to Avoid Network Failures & Outages for Your Business
Network interruptions and downtime can lead to huge losses of time and money. An outage can cost thousands per minute and even more per hour. For any business, it’s important to prevent network interruptions and these potentially catastrophic losses of revenue and productivity, along with an influx of customer complaints.
Unfortunately, network outages occur more frequently than many business owners realize. There are many types of network failures and potential causes of interruptions, ranging from power outages to equipment failures. This is why it is essential for a business owner to understand the common causes and how to avoid these issues.
What Is Network Failure?
Network failure refers to the partial or total failure of a component or multiple components in a network. A component refers to an individual element of communications and computing systems that have specific functions and interfaces, including software and hardware. This failure can be caused by a manmade or natural disaster or by a malfunction, which is when something fails to function or functions incorrectly.
Partial failures in a network include degradation, which is the deterioration of a functional unit’s standard level or quality of performance. Graceful degradation can be especially insidious, as the system will continue to operate, but rather than failing completely, the system demonstrates a reduced level of service.
Common Causes of Network Failure and Interruptions
When network problems lead to downtime, this can have a significant impact on your business. To minimize the financial and reputational impact on your business, you should understand these common causes of network failure and interruptions.
Human error may be the most common cause of network interruptions and outages. Users can make simple mistakes like pulling out the wrong plug or not following the proper procedure. Other issues like poorly configured network devices, cable damage or accidental hardware damage can also lead to downtime in your network. These errors can be avoided with proper documentation, staff training and labels on all devices.
Power failures can be caused by natural disasters like massive lightning storms, tornados, fires and floods that destroy your building or cause a power surge. An event like this can result in a huge loss of data, and the likelihood of recovering it is slim.
To avoid a power outage that could cause a major disruption to your business, ensure you have backup power supplies. Connect any redundant devices to a different power circuit so that an outage in a single circuit doesn’t entirely shut down a service.
Many unplanned outages are caused by misconfiguration. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of making mistakes. Rather than depend on manual methods to set parameters, you should utilize automation for deploying changes. Test every configuration before you make changes to your production devices.
Hardware failures can lead to network failure and interruptions. A hardware failure occurs when parts of your company’s IT infrastructure fail to work properly. Examples of hardware failure causes include water damage, lack of maintenance and voltage spikes. If you don’t plan for these potential hardware failures, your business could face devastating consequences.
Apply patches and perform maintenance as necessary to keep your business’s devices updated and reduce the risk of a hardware failure. Additionally, you can reduce the effect of hardware failures by building in redundancy that prevents disruption to the entire network due to one point of failure.
Balancing technology improvements and cost-effective computer infrastructure can be tricky. Some businesses delay upgrading their technology due to the expense, but each unsupported, obsolete device within your business is a potential threat to the operations of your network. To avoid network failures and interruptions due to outdated equipment, be sure to replace out-of-date equipment and plan for upgrades.
Security Breaches and Cyber Attacks
Security failures can lead to breaches and cyber attacks. Unauthorized traffic can cause a network failure due to the excess load. To prevent a security breach or cyber attack, ensure you implement appropriate security controls that can keep intruders from taking down your network.
How to Avoid Network Downtime and Outages
Your business can avoid many of these common causes of network failure symptoms by reducing manual work with automation and keeping good records. Additional ways to prevent network issues include:
1. Switch to Cloud Services
Switching to cloud services is crucial for avoiding data loss due to an outage. Your business’s physical location should not be the primary storage for your key documents. Instead, use a cloud server, which is more reliable, convenient and accessible. Cloud solutions provide you with access to your data both in the office and on the go.
2. Use a Redundant Network Connection
Another option to consider for how to reduce network downtime is a redundant network connection. Though some businesses may be able to continue operating for a few hours after a loss of network connection, many businesses rely on constant internet access. In this case, a redundant network connection is a wise investment. A redundant connection uses different network carriers and providers, so if one network has difficulties, another network can carry the load.
3. Invest in High-quality Network Infrastructure
Though choosing lower-grade hardware can save your business money, it can put your organization at greater risk. The cost savings are minimal compared to the losses your business could face from a network interruption. Higher-grade hardware is more reliable and will prevent the loss of productivity caused by a slow connection.
4. Audit Your System for Potential Weaknesses or Threats
When your business experiences an outage or downtime, the first step is figuring out the origination of the issue. If your office is suddenly without power, for example, you need to determine whether the outage is due to a blown fuse or a widespread failure. To prevent downtime in your system, consider both internal and external threats and take steps to protect your organization against them.
Contact Us for Help With Network Problems and Solutions
At Kirbtech, we empower businesses to realize their potential through technology solutions. Our solutions include managed IT support services, cloud solutions, camera systems, phone systems, networking, servers, free onboarding and unlimited helpdesk for our full support contracts.
Hundreds of organizations trust us with their technology needs. While we are based in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, we service the entire south-central Pennsylvania area as a leader in network and computer support, along with clients in other states like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Arkansas. To learn more about how to solve network problems, contact us at Kirbtech for a free consultation.