Business continuity: Every CIO’s top priority

Every CIO’s key priority is, first and foremost, guaranteeing a network infrastructure that is always available. There is no denying that Internet assets have rocketed in importance.

Business continuity solutions are now mission-critical components of the enterprise toolkit, particularly as Internet assets, and indeed Internet Performance, directly affect both core business tasks and, as a consequence, the bottom line. The C-suite is well aware that outages can have a hugely negative impact on profits and business reputation.

Yet availability issues and slowdowns in performance can also have huge consequences for a web-centric business, impacting core business operations and potentially pushing customers into its competitors’ grasp.

Defend brand reputation and the bottom line

Guaranteed business continuity leads to profits. This is true of large enterprises and web properties across all sectors. In 2014, a study by Avaya highlighted that 80 per cent of network outages result in lost revenue. The same study also found that the average outage within the financial sector led to more than $540,000 in lost revenue.

Beyond financial losses, network slowdowns and failures can also severely damage reputation. Customers are demanding more from their online experience than ever before. Their high expectations when it comes to website response mean that a delay of over three seconds when accessing a website can persuade them to try a competitor’s site instead. In the retail sector, one bad experience can lose a customer’s loyalty for life. Customer reliance on smooth mobile app experiences within the banking industry demonstrates just how vital it is that site outages or slowdowns do not mar the user experience. If these occur, they can undo years of building customer trust.

IT executives cannot avoid these costly business continuity issues without knowledge and control over the Internet. To fully understand performance, reachability and availability issues for end-users across the globe, they will need to monitor and control their web assets with Internet Performance Management tools.

Pinpoint the problem accurately and quickly

Now with interconnected networks only increasing in complexity, it is much harder to locate root causes for errors. If a business’ web assets are experiencing an outage, slowdowns or degradation, content delivery networks (CDNs), cloud providers and acceleration services may say they are "up". But this does not mean that they are reachable for the end user. In the majority of cases they are experiencing a constant rate of low-level failure which remains out of IT's visibility and control but hugely affects users’ experience.

Successful troubleshooting requires complete insight into both internal and external infrastructure. This includes data centres, ISP performance and cloud as well as CDN routing and configuration. Root cause analysis is the only fool-proof way to find a problem rapidly, enabling IT to reduce “mean time to innocence”, i.e. discover the issue as quickly as possible in order to fix the problem.

By constantly monitoring the most important third party dependencies that corporate IT depends upon and implementing tools which send alerts whenever potential performance issues arise, IT can effectively understand end-to-end performance in the network.

Reducing “mean time to innocence” leads to benefits far beyond the IT space. By knowing where performance issues originate, IT can set the business apart from the competition: providing better support for the end user, enhancing communication and developing a superior service feature as a key differentiator.

Failure is not an option

Few events can damage a business’ – and its C-suite’s – reputation as quickly as an outright failure. This is especially true if the failure could have been predicted and, more importantly, prevented by Internet Performance Management, monitoring and traffic steering tools. Consider the fact that one of the world’s largest online retailers experienced an outage in March last year which led to one of their premier storefronts remaining unavailable to customers. This “internal DNS error” lasted for eleven hours and cost the company millions.

While not every business can describe itself as one of the most-visited web properties in the world, a half-day outage can cause severe consequences for businesses of any size. Furthermore, the availability of cost-effective secondary DNS and Internet monitoring services which can help IT avoid these disasters means that there is no excuse for outright outages of this magnitude. In today’s cloud and CDN dependent ecosystem, CIOs must understand far more than the routing, performance and security characteristics of their internal network: visibility into their connectivity over the public Internet is key.

CIOs today can guarantee the always-available reliability necessary in a dynamic online environment. Internet Performance Management tools exist to help IT identify and mitigate risks which can lead to business continuity issues. Most high-level business continuity difficulties can be controlled and solved with tools which monitor Internet performance and take corrective action if problems arise.

In this way, CIOs can provide better security and mission-critical insights into the global Internet while also ensuring that a disruptive event doesn’t set the company back in both time and financial resources.

Paul Heywood, MD EMEA, Dyn

Image source: Shutterstock/Tom Wang