Outages cause financial 'ouch'

New research uncovers increasing costs of downtime, with lengthy resolution times, creating financial and reputational damage for organisations.

Fifty percent of CIOs report their businesses have recorded financial losses due to increased downtime, according to research commissioned by Opengear. The global study that polled 500 network engineers and 500 CIOs across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Australia, indicates both the volume and costs of downtime are spiraling.

The research shows that mean time to recovery (MTTR) is also ramping up, wreaking further havoc on companies’ finances and reputations. It now takes organisations an average of 11.2 hours to find and resolve a network outage after it’s reported, an increase of nearly two hours since Opengear conducted a similar study in 2020. While CIOs rank financial loss as the most severe impact of network outages, the study reveals a much broader picture of costs, with customer satisfaction (47%), data loss (45%), and loss of reputation (41%) also cited as main impacts.

The study also suggests that network engineers on the frontline are more likely to prioritise the need to avoid downtime than their senior managers. More than one-third (36%) of engineers rank it as their organisation’s biggest network challenge post-digital transformation – second only to security. Conversely, CIOs are more likely to prioritise skills shortages, network agility, and performance above concerns about outages. As the impacts of network downtime increase, it is likely that questions of network resilience will develop into a growing C-suite concern.

Opengear’s study comes as greater numbers of firms leverage hybrid working, the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart devices in a post-pandemic landscape. Networks are experiencing significant strain, as the interconnectivity of these devices increases the risk of costly and disruptive downtime.

“While network outages are nothing new, we are seeing a worrying rise in the frequency, severity, and costs of downtime across enterprises,” said Gary Marks, President of Opengear. “Organisations are also taking significantly longer to recover from these incidents, largely due to the elevated sophistication of cyber-attacks and a combination of economic factors and labor shortages caused by the recent pandemic. Our research should sound a clear note of caution to businesses: To avoid further financial and reputational harm, avoiding downtime must rise to the top of the priority list. Businesses need to look toward more advanced technologies to streamline their operations and boost the resilience of their networks.”

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