Why network visibility is important for your business

Published: Apr 03, 2018
Author: Danny Johnson

IT managers need full network visibility to make the right decisions to allocate resources, fine-tune performance and secure the environment to guard against unplanned downtime.  According to IHS[i], network outages and slowdowns are estimated to cost enterprises $700 billion a year. Regardless of the cause, the fact is that network downtime is expensive.

Downtime risk can increase when organizations try to save on network costs by opting for a multivendor management approach. Why? A multivendor strategy increases network management complexity because IT managers can only see one network at one time.

Lack of visibility also affects planning. Companies that want to add resources, such as mobile apps to drive efficiency with workers, have difficulty properly calculating how much additional bandwidth demand a resource will create. This can hamper an organization’s ability to grow and be agile in response to market conditions and customer preferences.

Without visibility, security may also suffer. As the cyber threat landscape expands and becomes more harmful, with hackers unleashing fast-spreading ransomware attacks and DDoS actions against all kinds of targets, organizations have to beef up their defenses to prevent breaches. Poor network visibility is a significant handicap; if you can’t identify vulnerabilities in the network, the risk of a serious cyberattack can increase.

With the proper network visibility, you can monitor performance and the resources on top of it, including services and applications.  Such end-to-end network monitoring in a multivendor environment is practically impossible, making it difficult to deliver a consistent customer experience.

One way to mitigate the risk of downtime is to contract with a provider that offers software-defined network (SDN) capabilities coupled with hybrid connectivity platforms (MPLS-based, public IP, broadband, 4G LTE) with secure end-to-end visibility from mobile to cloud.

Preventing Downtime

The Ponemon Institute[ii] has identified uninterruptible power supply (UPS) failures as the cause of 25 percent of network outages for data centers, followed by cybercrime and human error at 22 percent each. While it’s impossible to prevent downtime 100 percent of the time, many issues that cause it can be addressed with sound management practices and comprehensive network visibility. As already noted, that is harder to achieve when using multiple vendors to manage the network. If a problem occurs somewhere in the network, it could take hours or days to figure out the issue because you may have to contact more than one provider.

Now, if you put a single global provider in charge of managing your network, gains in visibility will be noticeable. This is the case even in instances when using multiple local providers, which is typically unavoidable.

Consider a scenario in which an organization relies heavily on a critical application to serve its customers. It could be an ecommerce application for a major retailer, a trading system at a brokerage firm or an EMR (electronic medical records) platform at a healthcare provider. If that critical application underperforms, completing tasks too slowly – or fails altogether – it can cause serious disruptions for the business that affect the bottom line or, in the case of a healthcare provider, interfere with medical care.

If you can’t identify the problem quickly when something starts to go wrong, that’s a serious problem. But with ongoing monitoring across the entire environment, you can not only quickly identify the issue but also actually get alerts before a problem becomes serious so you can swiftly take action.

The value of a single provider with full network visibility

New technologies such as SDN are transforming network management, making it possible to dial bandwidth up or down as necessary, make network changes and prioritize traffic in near real time. 

A global network provider that offers SDN technology plus hybrid connectivity platforms can deliver visibility at the network and application layer levels to help organizations get the best performance out of its network. 

Benefits you gain by working with a single global provider include:

  • Steady access to resources for employees
  • Mitigating the risk of outages
  • Controlling costs of network management

While the draw of low-cost networks in a multivendor setup is strong, enterprises typically cannot achieve the level of agility they need to stand out against competitors that is possible by working with a single global provider.

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Danny Johnson, a 20+ year veteran in the technology industry, is a seasoned executive possessing experience in software development, engineering, sales, consulting, product development, and marketing. Danny has started and launched innovative products and solutions within multi-billion dollar markets and is currently the head of product marketing for Verizon where he shares responsibility for the profitable growth of Verizon’s Strategic Network Portfolio.

[i] Businesses Losing $700 Billion a Year to IT Downtime, Says HIS, Matthias Machowinski, IHS Markit, January 25, 2016.

[ii] Ponemon Institute, Cost of Data Center Outages, January 2016, sponsored by VertivTM.