Most businesses these days are reliant on fully functional networks. Thanks to the internet, everything and everyone is more connected than they have ever been. When it comes to business, this means 24-hour customer support and employee connectivity.
Having this level of connection is great for customers and businesses, but it comes with a big risk. If a network failure occurs, the whole system falls apart. Customers can no longer reach businesses, and employees can no longer access accounts systems or sales platforms.
It is vital that every business exercise as much caution as they can to prevent these network failures. Let’s discuss the different causes of network failures and how you can avoid them to ensure business continuity.
What is Network Failure?
A network failure occurs when the local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) is no longer accessible. This can be due to a total or partial network failure or a component disrupting the data communication. They can be caused by manmade or natural events or by a malfunction of one or all the components within.
More intricate issues, such as a lack of functionality in an individual unit on the system, cause partial failures. This device will still work but will cause a slowdown of data transfer or access, leading to network connection troubles.
What Causes Network Failure?
Every business will suffer several common causes of network failures at some point. Most companies are lucky to only deal with them once, usually when they set themselves up. Others can happen at any time. These causes are:
This is one that no one has any control over. Sometimes power outages occur for entirely unpredictable reasons, such as heavy storms or accidents. Regardless of the reason, once the main servers of the network are off, there is no network.
Like power failure, network damage is rarely controllable or predictable. Anything that causes failure of the inbound network lines to the main system servers will cause a network failure. Often these network failures result from storms causing power lines to go down. Occasionally it happens if a vehicle crashes into telephone poles or other accidents occur on or around network cables.
Approximately 80% of all unplanned network failures result from misconfiguration in a network. This means that one or more aspects of a network are incorrectly set up, disrupting the connection. It can happen with the main system servers or any device attempting to connect to the network.
Security breaches come in a wide range of types, from the malicious attacks of hackers and data miners to coordinated DDoS attacks. In the former case, external operatives will enter a system and take control of it, denying access to people by changing important data or access permissions. In a DDoS attack, many people will overload a system with fake requests for access, causing it to overload and slow down.
Human error can be detrimental to a network’s status. It can manifest in something as simple as an incorrectly inserted plug or cable to poor network configuration. Luckily, these are the easiest errors to fix, but also the ones most likely to occur.
How to Prevent Network Failure
Knowing that there are many potential causes for network failure, every business should prepare for them. Fortunately, there are a great many options available to provide backups and prevention both onsite and per device.
Invest in High-Quality Network Infrastructure
The urge to cut corners and save a few extra dollars is always tempting for any business. Things like cables and hard drives seem like extra purchases at the best of times, especially when the market is saturated with affordable technology. However, when it comes to network infrastructure, buying cheap is never a good idea. Investing in better network equipment will always pay out in the long run by reducing the chances of (and losses from) network failures.
Switch to Cloud Services
The cloud provides a wireless network that runs 24/7 backed up by several redundant systems, preventing downtime and allowing any approved device to access them anytime, anywhere. It negates the need for any onsite servers, as everything is managed offsite at a data center by the provider.
Keep Software and Hardware Updated
Most networks are designed to prevent unsafe connections, which allow weak points for malicious persons to access. If a device is updated, it will be able to connect. Remind users to keep their devices updated regularly is the best way to keep things secure.
While every business should run a constant antivirus program, you must always keep it updated. This is also true for anti-virus software installed on any device. Even if an organization is not at risk of direct attack by malicious hackers, viruses can be easily allowed in through unscanned emails or unsafe links. None of these are a threat so long as the software is up to date.
Pro tip: Partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) can give you access to better software support and services. This is because MSPs have close relationships with IT and software vendors, so they typically have access to resources that your in-house IT team won’t have.
Install Backup Power Units
Backup power systems provide a constant level of power to onsite servers in the event of power failures. They store power in large-scale batteries that are only activated if the main power goes off. This means that the servers will not turn off, and the network will not be disrupted so long as the power is restored before the charge is used.
Run Regular System Configurations
Running regular configurations on a system will identify any weak points that might have occurred. Devices that pose a risk or have not been updated recently will be automatically denied access to the system, closing off potential breach routes.
Network failures are a constant threat to any modern business, regardless of whether they work wirelessly or from a single office. Taking steps to reduce the chances of them occurring is in the best interest of any business. It will keep your connections strong and your business running smoothly.