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The true cost of network performance issues for your business

Network brownouts could be the biggest under-the-radar threats to your network. Stay aware of this performance issue to save your organization's productivity and money.

Hopefully, your business has a spare $600,000 or so because that's what undiscovered network brownouts could potentially cost your organization per year.

Network brownouts are unanticipated and unplanned drops in network quality, which could cost organizations more money than expected, according to a recent survey from Netrounds, a network monitoring software provider based in Sweden. The survey examined common network performance issues organizations face -- network brownouts, in particular -- and the extent of a brownout's potential damage. Netrounds surveyed 400 respondents across the U.S. from companies with over 1,000 employees.

Overall, respondents claimed that IT teams didn't notice over 60% of network brownouts, as some alarm systems often didn't detect these network performance issues. This means customers and employees discovered over 40% of brownouts, the survey said, while 14% went unreported. Although 90% of respondents said their network is critical to business operations, network brownouts remain a persistently silent but detrimental foe.

Network brownouts differ from network outages, as outages are complete network interruptions and brownouts are drops in network quality. Yet, a brownout's potential for damage is nearly as drastic as an outage. Respondents ranked persistent brownout damage as the third most crucial network performance issue they face, only falling behind damage from network outages and security breaches, the survey said.

network brownouts
If you suspect a decline in your network performance, follow these steps to evaluate the issue.

Network performance issues can cost more than just money

Persistent brownouts aren't uncommon. The majority of respondents claimed their networks experienced five to nine brownouts over the past two years, while others said they experienced more than 10 brownouts in that same time. Brownouts can last anywhere from three to over 10 hours, and the effects of brownouts are felt in areas beyond the network.

While 83% of respondents said brownouts caused serious network damage, they also claimed brownouts increasingly frustrated end users and employees. Over 70% of respondents said a decline in productivity was the greatest loss their organizations faced due to network brownouts. Less than half of organizations recognized network brownouts as a serious network performance issue, the survey said, but brownouts frustrated one-third of end users, which led some to leave the office to work elsewhere.

Other side effects included revenue loss, monetary damages from mitigating unhappy customers and reputational damage. Annual monetary losses ranged from $250,000 to $700,000, with an average of $600,000 per organization. The main reason for immense brownouts costs was organizations' inability to proactively prevent and detect problems or resolve network performance issues in a timely manner, the survey said.

Organizations should recognize how common network brownouts are, Netrounds said. The survey claimed these network performance issues are more common than many might think, so IT teams should acknowledge and stay aware of them to help mitigate further performance degradations -- and excessive money loss -- in the future.

Next Steps

Here's what to do when your network goes down

Learn how to plan for a network failure

This was last published in September 2019

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