The War Against Downtime Has Lasted Too Long. Here’s How to Finish It Off.

by JP González
January 26, 2018

For as long as we’ve had data networks, IT leaders have waged war against downtime. Although the war is far from over, victory is within reach. According to a recent survey, more than half of IT pros had a data outage lasting more than eight hours in the previous five years, and the damage caused by each can be enormous.

The IT heroes are those who have made such outages a thing of the past. For others, there is hope. You can give your network extra life – but you must have a solid game plan to get there.

Game on.

War against downtime Rule 1: Know your foe

Start by focusing on who it is you’re really battling in the war against downtime. Viruses and malware are indeed part of enemy forces – but not the main nemeses.

The survey that revealed how common network outages really are found that viruses and malware rank fourth in the enemies list. Beginning with the most common cause of downtime, the three primary enemies are power outages, hardware error, and user error – elusive forces that challenge IT’s traditional tactics.

That doesn’t mean giving up is an option – the stakes are too high. Over two-thirds of downtime events cause more than $20K in revenue loss, and nearly one-third cause losses exceeding $100K. Add to the financial impact the hit to employee productivity, damage to enterprise brand/reputation, delayed product/service delivery, cost of recovery, and lost customers, and it’s clear that the battle against downtime must be won.

Knowing the enemy can’t be vanquished directly, take the battle to the next.

War against downtime Rule 2: Be the hero – with diversity, not just redundancy

An effective weapon against downtime is redundancy. For example, having two fiber connections, improves network reliability with redundancy – yet falls short of hero battle.

Reaching rule 2 requires a more decisive strategy. Armed with the knowledge that factors outside your control will make parts of your network fail, you need to eliminate all single points of failure. IT heroes take the extra step of adding diversity. Two or more connections with different failure characteristics across all network elements, to improve availability for the entire network. Making sure all those redundant connections follow different routes and are connected to different equipment, eliminating every single point of failure -even the ones hidden in your service provider’s network.

In the all-out battle against downtime, a diversity strategy offers the surest path to:

  • Keeping employees connected and working, and customers connected and conducting business, even during power outages.
  • Maintaining business continuity during transport disruption, even if there’s a fiber cut or other last-mile impairment.
  • Keeping critical endpoints connected, even during catastrophic network events, by using alternate failover paths.
  • Bypassing hidden traps by protecting every aspect of the network, not just the obvious ones.

Diversity can win the war against downtime by outsmarting what IT can’t control: power outages, hardware error, and user error. The key is forming the right alliance.

War against downtime Rule 3: Partner with a sidekick

Batman had Robin. Han Solo had Chewbacca. Mario had Luigi. Like so many other heroes, they knew it was best not to go it alone.

To reach rule 3 and win an extra life for your network, arm yourself properly. Don’t stick with tools and techniques that let the battle continue. Know your foe, be the hero, and partner with a proven diversity solution (Windstream’s Diverse Connect for example) to give extra life to your network – including a five-nines service level agreement.

Take that decisive step, and it’s game over – you won.