In today's highly competitive business environment, any amount of downtime can have severe financial consequences. Downtime not only hampers productivity but also causes revenue loss and customer dissatisfaction and tarnishes brand reputation. During my time with Bigleaf Networks, I've witnessed firsthand the impact that downtime and unusable uptime have on businesses.
According to Gartner, the average cost of network downtime is $5,600 per minute. When it comes to internet connectivity, seconds count. Here are some tips to help you prevent network problems so that your business maintains efficiency and productivity levels.
Understand the Cost of Downtime
To better understand the financial impact of downtime, it's essential to calculate the cost for your specific business. Resources like downtime calculators can help you determine the cost of downtime per minute in your business.
Furthermore, businesses should recognize that downtime and unusable uptime are not solely caused by internet outages. While outages account for a small percentage of internet unavailability, regularly occurring issues that happen on the internet are the real culprits behind poor cloud application performance. These issues are not always caught by standard safeguards that companies have in place, such as dual-WAN firewalls and BGP routers, which only jump into action when your primary internet connection fails.
As a result, the cost of downtime can be exceptionally high, given the sheer number of factors that can lead to it. This underscores the importance of identifying and addressing all potential sources of internet downtime to ensure the smooth operation of cloud applications.
Now that you understand the cost of downtime, let's dive into the tactical tips to help you save thousands of dollars per minute by eliminating downtime.
Invest in SD-WAN Technology
Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is a game-changing technology that helps businesses optimize network performance by intelligently routing traffic based on application requirements, network conditions, and business policies. Investing in an SD-WAN product ensures high network uptime, increased bandwidth, and reduced latency, all of which contribute to eliminating downtime.
To find SD-WAN technology that effectively serves its purpose for your business, look for a product that is firewall-friendly. This capability ensures that your business doesn’t have to compromise any of its firewall’s functionality and risk security, compliance, or network stability.
Implement Network Redundancy
Having a redundant network infrastructure is crucial to minimize the risk of downtime. By deploying multiple internet connections from different providers and using diverse physical paths, you can ensure that your network remains operational even if one connection fails. SD-WAN technology can help you achieve this by intelligently managing and balancing traffic across multiple links.
Monitor and Analyze Network Performance
Proactively monitoring and analyzing your network performance can help you identify and address potential issues before they cause downtime. Utilize network monitoring tools that provide real-time data on network performance, bandwidth usage, latency, and packet loss. This data will enable you to make informed decisions about capacity planning, traffic prioritization, and resource allocation.
Establish an Internet Contingency Plan
No matter how well-prepared you are, network outages can still occur due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, hardware failures, or cyberattacks. Having a comprehensive internet contingency plan in place ensures that your business can swiftly resume operations in the event of an outage. Include procedures for data backup, emergency communications, and recovery of critical systems in your plan.
Train Your Staff
Your employees play a crucial role in maintaining usable network uptime. Train them on network best practices, security protocols, and how to identify potential issues. Encourage them to report any network anomalies and conduct regular drills to ensure they're well-prepared to handle network disruptions.
Optimize Application Performance
Application performance has a direct impact on employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Identify and optimize bandwidth-hungry applications, ensure proper quality of service policies, and leverage technologies like WAN optimization and caching to improve application performance.
Partner with a Managed Service Provider
Outsourcing your network management to a managed service provider (MSP) can be an effective way to eliminate downtime. MSPs have the expertise and resources to monitor, maintain, and optimize your network performance around the clock. They can proactively identify and resolve potential issues, ensuring that your network remains up and running at all times. Additionally, partnering with an MSP can free up your internal IT team to focus on more strategic initiatives that drive business growth.
Regularly Update and Patch Your Network Infrastructure
Outdated hardware and software can lead to security vulnerabilities and performance issues, increasing the risk of downtime. Regularly update your network devices, including routers, switches, and firewalls, with the latest firmware and security patches. Schedule routine maintenance to ensure your infrastructure remains in optimal condition and can handle increasing network demands.
Leverage Cloud Services
Cloud services offer increased reliability, scalability, and flexibility compared to traditional on-premises infrastructure. By migrating critical applications and data to the cloud, you can reduce the risk of downtime caused by hardware failures, power outages, or local network disruptions. Additionally, cloud service providers often have built-in redundancy and disaster recovery features that ensure business continuity.
Conduct Regular Network Assessments
Perform regular network assessments to identify potential bottlenecks, vulnerabilities, and areas for improvement. This proactive approach will enable you to stay ahead of potential issues and make data-driven decisions to optimize your network infrastructure, reducing the likelihood of downtime.
By implementing these tactical tips, business owners can significantly reduce or even eliminate downtime, saving thousands of dollars per minute. Investing in SD-WAN technology, establishing network redundancy, monitoring network performance, and optimizing application performance are just a few of the strategies that can help ensure your business remains operational, even in the face of unexpected disruptions. By taking a proactive approach to network management, you can protect your bottom line and maintain a competitive edge in today's fast-paced business landscape.
About the Author
Greg Davis is the CEO of Bigleaf Networks, a provider of network optimization technology. Before taking on the role of CEO, Greg served on the Bigleaf Networks’ board of directions since 2020. Greg’s technology leadership career spans more than 25 years.