First 5 Things to Do If Your Network Experiences Downtime

We all enjoy a little downtime, except when your network has decided to stop working. That’s bad and it can bring your company to a halt resulting in lost productivity, service disruption, and a negative impact on your bottom line. Even worse, your information may be vulnerable to security breaches affecting your reputation in the marketplace.

There’s no denying that network downtime can be catastrophic and some businesses might experience significant financial losses for every hour of inactivity. In order to minimize the damage, it’s prudent to have a response plan in place so you know what to do as soon as something happens. That way if disaster strikes you can work on fixing the problem immediately and have your network up and running as quickly as possible.

1. Understand the Possible Risks

A network is a complicated amalgam of parts that all need to work in concert with one another. If one of them goes down, then the network stops running properly. There can be any number of reasons why a network fails including a power outage, device malfunctions, human error, security attacks, firmware incompatibility and failed updates and upgrades are just some of them.

Knowing how to assess and diagnose these problems is a good start to fixing them if and when they arise. Routers are usually the main culprit in most network failures, caused by a change in configuration or a failed upgrade. Being cognizant that it could be a router issue means you have a typical starting point from which to attempt to fix the problem.

2. Troubleshooting

When you know where to look, it can be much easier to solve the problem. The router is a good place to begin, but there are other common issues that might lead to network downtime. Diagnose modems, firewalls, Ethernet cards, and servers to check if they’re faulty or overloaded. Analyzing the extent of the outage and contacting your Internet Service Provider are two of the most effective methods for figuring out what’s wrong with the network. Your ISP can also run a diagnostic assessment to help pinpoint where the problem is located.

3. Embrace Disaster Preparedness

The best plan of attack is the one you’ve created before disaster strikes. Any network can go down at any time, so creating a disaster readiness protocol lets you start your recovery the minute the systems have failed. The first step is to implement a form of redundancy to safeguard against data loss.  Establishing backup resources and knowing where to locate all pertinent information in the event of an emergency will allow you to solve the mystery of your failed network sooner.

In addition, make sure to set up recovery procedures to get the network back online once any malfunctions or failures have been assessed and fixed. When you have these protocols in place, you can engage them immediately and waste less time before your business is operational again.

4. Contact Everyone

Depending upon the type of business you’re running and the amount of traffic relying on the network, you might need to alert a whole list of people as to the outage. This can include vendors, service providers and even customers about the temporary interruption. It may also require contacting other departments within your company as well as IT management personnel to start remedial asset recovery actions.

This way, any proprietary information and sensitive data that might be accessed via the network can be properly protected from any outside threats. Customers who can’t reach your business are likely to shop elsewhere, potentially costing you tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Let them know you’re experiencing a temporary hiccup as soon as possible, which can help soften the blow to your bottom line. If your customers are aware of the problem, they may be willing to wait for you to correct it before spending their dollars with your competitor.

5. Avoid the Problem

The best thing to prepare for any downtime your network experiences is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Maybe you’ve experienced a serious outage in the past and you want to take steps to avoid a similar situation. Partner with a network monitoring service to audit all of the devices in your network to ensure they are running properly on their current configuration settings. If something changes in one of them, the service alerts you of that change which could help you avoid long-term headaches.

These services also incorporate automatic backups that restore your network to operational settings.  This way, if and when a change or upgrade results in network failure, the network reverts to the previous configuration.