There are nearly a dozen types of networks that are used to establish connections that allow for everything from data backup and recovery to a company’s mission-critical communications. Network failure is always a risk and the consequences can be significant, although the exact nature of the impact is wholly determined by the network type. Understanding the consequences of a failed network is the first step in developing your organization’s IT incident response plan and risk management strategy.
What Are the Different Network Types?
There are four common types of network, although there are several additional network types that are utilized to achieve more specific objectives. The four most common types are as follows.
- Local Area Networks (LAN)
- Personal Area Networks (PAN)
- Wide Area Networks (WAN)
- Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN)
There are also several additional network types which are a bit more specialized in nature. They include the following.
- Storage Area Networks (SAN)
- Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
- Enterprise Private Networks (EPN)
- Campus Area Networks (CAN)
- Passive Optical LAN (POLAN)
The Potentially-Costly Consequences of a Failed Network
A broad range of circumstances can bring about network failure, ranging from a power outage or natural disaster, to hardware failure, software failure or server overloads to name a few. Unfortunately, the consequences of network failure can be very costly from a financial perspective and from an operational perspective. Here is a look at some of the most common issues and related consequences of a failed network.
Security Vulnerabilities from Network Failure – A faltering network can leave an organization in a vulnerable position when it comes to security. These circumstances hold the potential to create nothing short of a risk management nightmare. Network downtime can have some very negative consequences if a cybercriminal or other bad actor exploits the opportunity to steal data or perform another damaging act while a network is down.
Lost Productivity as a Consequence of a Failed Network – Productivity losses are a common consequence of network failure and these losses can be especially costly in cases where you have a mission-critical network in place. You may also see an adverse impact on employee morale in cases where you have repeated network failures since team members may get frustrated by the outages.
Backup and Restoration Failure from Network Downtime – Networks are frequently used for backup and restoration systems, which are a critical component of an organization’s IT risk management strategy. When a network is down, backups may fail since data cannot be sent to the data storage platform. The resulting disruption places an organization in a risky position because they would not have an optimally recent data set available if a restoration was necessary.
Financial Loss and Reputation Damage as a Result of Network Outages – Companies with customer-facing networks stand to see losses when failures occur, particularly if those failures are prolonged or repeated. Customers may opt to discontinue service and companies may feel that it’s necessary to adjust customer bills to compensate users for the downtime. What’s more, word travels fast when a service provider falters. Therefore, a company may see reputation damage that adversely impacts brand profitability in the long term. This can be one of the more challenging consequences of a failed network since a propensity for downtime, combined with reputation damage, can be notoriously challenging to reverse.
Software and Hardware Costs From a Network Failure – A network failure may be associated with damage or flaws with both hardware and software. The resulting costs for repair and/or replacement can be significant, especially when you take the human costs into equation. IT professionals may spend many hours installing new hardware and software in their attempts to restore network connectivity. Overtime costs are commonplace too since most organizations are keen to restore their network connectivity as quickly as possible.
These consequences of a failed network carry a rather significant price tag so there is something to be said for the financial impact of network downtime. IT response and recovery plans must address network failure due to the potential severity of these downtime incidents. A solid incident response plan is essential since it enables an organization to act promptly and decisively when network failure occurs. Proactive measures are also prudent. One commonly-recommended measure involves the deployment of load balancers — a technology that can be leveraged to help prevent a failed network due to server crashes. Load balancing serves to prevent network downtime arising from traffic spikes and related server crashes – one of the most common causes of network failure.
Using Load Balancing to Avoid Network Failures
Traffic spikes and resulting server overloads are a relatively common cause of network downtime and all-out network failures. This is especially true for network infrastructure that lacks “elasticity” — that is, an ability to scale in response to traffic increases. An excessive number of incoming client requests have the ability to place a tremendous strain on a server, causing it to slow and ultimately crash. But load balancing technology is designed to avoid this exact scenario.
Load balancers work by intercepting incoming server requests using a central server known as the load balancer or hub server. The incoming client requests are evaluated using a load balancing algorithm. This algorithm determines how those requests are distributed to the various servers within the load balancing server pool. Some load balancing configurations also allow for server health checks which are used to verify that the servers within the pool have acceptable availability and response times.
Load balancing allows for improved network performance and reliability by breaking up “clumps” of client requests which would otherwise hold the potential to overwhelm a single server. Those requests are distributed across multiple servers within the pool. But finding the ideal network load balancer can be a challenge, especially if an organization’s IT professionals lack experience with load balancing technology. Fortunately, this is where Resonate can help. The team at Resonate is always happy to consult with clients to recommend the best network load balancer for their needs.
Resonate specializes in delivering scalable load balancing solutions with exceptional performance, unmatched reliability and cost-effective pricing. Contact the team at Resonate today to discuss your network load balancing needs and we’ll help to identify the best solution to avoid the potentially costly consequences of a failed network. Dis