The 9 Main Causes Of Network Downtime


Network downtime is one of the greatest issues that organizations have to deal with as our digital age advances. Technological outages and failures lead to a bad user experience, and costs companies billions of dollars in damages. You might assume that a broken server is the single biggest reason for an outage, but you would be wrong.

Here are the top 9 causes of network downtime and how you can avoid them:

1. Power Problems
It is obviously important to have some kind of backup power system for your network. However, even if the power never fails, a time will come when power has to be turned off for maintenance. Ideally, all components of the network have redundant power supplies connected to separate circuit to ensure that they keep running when there’s maintenance or failure on one feed.

It is important to ensure that one circuit is capable of providing sufficient power by itself and that circuits have as few components in common as possible. The other reason for having redundant power supplies is that the power supply is usually the component that fails most often in most devices. If your equipment does not have redundant power supplies, you should have two components that provide backup for each other connected to separate circuits to ensure that if one circuit goes down, it does not take out both devices.

2. Outdated Hardware
If your business uses old hardware, it can lead to various problems such as data traffic flow congestion as well as being unable to execute complex applications, which requires the most current hardware. To avoid long-term outages, you need to keep the hardware up-to-date. Ideally, you should replace your servers every 5 years.

3. Human Error
Human error is one of the biggest causes of network downtime. It may include anything from external threats such as ransomware that leads to service denial, to the mismanagement of IT assets, to pulling out the wrong plug. All the scenarios listed above can lead to disruptions in the network leading to an outage.

Even a tech-savvy in-house IT team can make a mistake such as misconfiguring network devices. The best way to reduce human error is to hire an outsourced IT support team for its expertise and consulting service and implement the right processes and training and processes, and create a cyber security culture focused on the latest security technologies that helps staff identify threats and know how to handle them.

4. Server OS Bugs
Bugs in the operating system of a server are a leading cause for network downtime. Users report that the most vulnerable operating systems include Microsoft Windows 2012, Microsoft Windows 2008, and Linux Kernel. To avoid network downtime caused by bugs in the operating system of the server, it is advisable to ensure that you frequently update the OS.

5. Server Hardware-Software Incompatibility
Network downtime is sometimes due to servers that are too old to run new software. IT managers often attempt to stay on top of the constantly evolving hardware and technology, but they usually fail to update outdated software.

Servers can also experience significant outages leading to network downtime due to the incompatibility of operating systems. Companies need to ensure that they keep up with software and hardware updates to avoid any major downtime.

6. Server Hardware Instability
The server may sometimes still be unstable even though the hardware is up to date, there is no traffic congestion, and the LAN or WAN are working perfectly. It usually happens when IT departments try using new technology with old hardware.
Servers crash for various reasons including firmware upgrades, bugs, power supply glitches, faulty RAM, damage to hard disk platter, and more. To avoid network downtime due to unstable servers, servers require monitoring 24/7.

7. Insufficient Cooling
The cooling system is an important component of the infrastructure of a building that’s usually installed to ensure that employees stay cool as opposed to cooling the server room, which tends to generate a lot of heat.

Besides making sure that the facility is cooled sufficiently, you also need to have extra equipment on hand to replace broken components if and when they fail as well as a plan in place to fail over to the backup system while you quickly repair the air conditioning before your entire set up shuts down causing a major outage.

8. Understaffed IT Departments
To keep a company’s network, servers, and applications running smoothly, numerous distinct tasks have to be performed. If the company does not have enough members of staff for monitoring or managing updates, then network downtime may result.

To avoid such issues, it is important for companies to set aside a budget for hiring a dedicated workforce capable of managing their IT needs.

9. Natural Disasters
Natural disasters can lead to a great deal of damage with regards to IT and cloud-based services. Natural disasters actually rank as one of the leading causes for data center failure according to a 2013 study that Quorum released. Over 33 percent of respondents cited natural disasters as the most common cause of network downtime.

You need to note that natural disasters are not just limited to extreme occurrences such as massive earthquakes or hurricanes. Blizzards, intense summer storms, flooding, and even more common weather events can cause damage to communication equipment thus preventing VoIP and UC providers from providing services to their clients.

Final Thoughts

Network downtime reduces the efficiency of your business, undermines your credibility, and can expose your data to serious security risks. That’s the reason why every downtime occurrence should be addressed to find out its causes and ensure that those causes are minimized and aggressively dealt with.

If you work in IT and want to be sure that your company won’t experience network downtime, proactive assessment of hardware and software statuses and 24/7 monitoring of critical devices may help prevent server and network downtime. If you stay on top of what’s happening on your servers with Path Network, you can be sure that your customers and employees will have access to the services that they need the most.