Everyone in IT knows the feeling. It’s the little voice in your head that pings you out of nowhere, and asks: “Have I covered everything? Are we as prepared as we should be for an outage? How much does our resiliency plan have to change?”
You’re certainly not alone. Over the past three years, 96% of IT leaders have experienced at least one significant outage. In the same period, the average U.S. organization experienced 10 IT blackouts or brownouts.
Outages have become alarmingly close to common. Thankfully, there are strategies you can introduce to prevent unexpected downtime before it happens – and get the reassurance of comprehensive network insight to preempt issues.
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The True Cost of IT Outages
When an organization’s network goes down, the effects can be anywhere from inconvenient to catastrophic. In total, IT outages cost North American businesses $700 billion every year.
These losses aren’t confined to revenue. Losses can impact internal productivity, mitigation costs, and even the brand. Just one hour’s downtime can cost an average of $250,000 to $300,000, depending on the size of an organization and its industry.
In the new era of ‘the customer experience’ – where expectations for a superior experience and network access continue to grow – the stakes for staying connected have never been higher.
The Basics of Incident Prevention
The biggest challenge in preventing brownouts and blackouts is identifying root causes in advance and preempting their effects. To achieve this, your organization needs proactive processes to monitor your network, identify risks, and take preemptive actions.
However, monitoring can be difficult for understaffed IT teams, who are focused on the delivery of immediate business goals. Monitoring takes time, and automation is required to identify risk faster, accelerate remediation and reduce the chance of error.
There is another way. Cisco Business Critical Services (BCS) augments your team with analytics and expertise. By investing in experts who’ll continuously engage with your IT professionals and share proactive recommendations to prevent incidents, your teams can get greater visibility into their IT infrastructure to improve uptime, performance, and availability.
Become an Expert by Learning From Others
It’s one thing to understand what could go wrong in your organization. The next step is learning from other businesses’ experiences, and how their outages can help prevent yours.
Thanks to advances in predictive analytics and machine learning, businesses now have access to global intelligence to predict weak points in their own networks. For example, Cisco’s BCS experts draw on their anonymized and proprietary database collected and aggregated from over 30 million devices worldwide.
By cross-referencing our data with your devices, we can help you identify and mitigate vulnerabilities before they impact your organization. Empowered by Cisco intellectual capital, our expertise – powered by analytics, insights, and automation – can help your IT teams avoid costly downtime.
How to Review an Outage
Likewise, if an outage does take place, a consistent, proactive approach is critical to reaching a positive outcome. As part of Cisco BCS Advantage, our Expert Incident Review recommends best practices to shore up your own incident review framework, then practice it, to improve your network stability and performance:
1. Assessing the Situation
We review Technical Assistance Center service requests, case notes, your network configuration, and business priorities to create an accurate picture of an outage.
2. Review the Timeline
Our experts look for patterns in the data, identify the root cause, and analyze your action plans, helping simplify your processes and minimize downtime.
3. Strengthening for the Future
We share proactive recommendations, including steps you can take to prevent future incidents and manage any cases consistently.
Turn Adversity into Opportunity
Network brownouts and blackouts are costlier than ever. But with incident prevention, regular reviews, access to Cisco experts, analytics, insights, and more, IT decision-makers are well-positioned to deliver an always-on network.
This blog was originally written by Chris Rittler for Cisco Blogs.