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March 07, 2014

Network Down? Revenue and Jobs Will Follow, Says New Report

It's the kind of thing that happens just about everywhere at some point or another; the network goes down, leaving workers stranded on the Information Superhighway. While there are usually some number of offline tasks that can often be done in the meantime, it's still the kind of thing that hampers operations. While more and more businesses are focusing on business continuity, a study from Avaya (News - Alert) shows that the value of having backup systems in place is more pronounced than ever before, as the price of a network outage is more substantial than some might expect.

The survey in question tackled several different businesses, from medium-sized to major enterprise, throughout Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The survey noted that 82 percent of respondents had experienced some kind of network downtime, often caused when IT staffers make mistakes in configuring the network as a whole. Fully 20 percent of all network downtime in 2013 could be traced back to issues of the core network, which makes it clear just how important that core network really is.

But the survey carried on, and revealed some disturbing trends. Eighty percent of the companies that experienced network downtime related to the core network lost revenue in the process. The average loss for a core network event was fully $140,003 per incident. This can vary by industry, of course; reports note that the financial sector actually lost on average $540,358, again per incident. What's more, job losses also came into the picture; following an incident involving network downtime, one in five companies would then fire an IT employee following the incident in question. This too varied across sectors, with one in three companies in the natural resources, telecom and utilities sector firing IT personnel following a downtime incident involving change errors.

These numbers reflect a situation that is nothing short of disastrous. Disastrous for not just IT staffers (there's at least one chance in five a downtime event will cost a job) but also for businesses (a six-figure loss every time the network crashes). Thankfully, there are ways around this. Recent natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and others have made businesses more mindful of the idea of having backup systems in place, be it power backup, network backup, or even complete business backup by taking advantage of things like the BYOD concept and cloud computing to allow employees to work remotely, helping to ensure that, no matter what happens, someone can work and someone can bring in revenue. Avaya has several tools designed to make sure that the network can stay up and active; Avaya Fabric Connect, for example, is designed to keep core errors to the minimum by automatically configuring core switches and distribution pathways, leaving IT to only configure edge devices. Avaya was even recently seen helping keep the network its smoothest for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and given those conditions, Avaya really showed its mettle—maybe even its medal, so to speak—by keeping that network humming along.

The network is a vital part of operations these days, both at work and at home, and sometimes even both at the same time. Keeping it up and running keeps business up and running, and the prices of a failure are catastrophic. But with proper backup systems in place, keeping an operation running even through the worst of disasters—man-made or otherwise—is a lot more possible than ever.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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