$600,000: The cost of network brownouts in the enterprise
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

As network connectivity becomes increasingly critical to business success in the modern enterprise, ensuring IT and network operations teams have proactive visibility into network performance is essential. Yet a recent survey found that fewer than half of network performance degradations today are discovered by IT before they reach employees or, even worse, customers.

According to the survey of 400 end users, members of the C-Suite and network operations pros at large companies across the U.S., IT is only on average intercepting two out of every five (roughy 39 percent) performance issues that reverberate across the enterprise. Specifically, network brownouts – defined as unexpected or unintended lags in network performance quality – are the third most critical issue facing IT today, with only total network outages and security breaches besting brownouts in the ranking.

The survey found that 83 percent of large organizations are seeing serious damage and employee frustration stemming from persistent brownouts, as customers and employees are more likely to discover and report the issue than IT (42 percent vs. 39 percent). What’s worse is that 14 percent of the time the issues are never reported – a sign that poor network performance has become the norm for many users who are now complacent about such issues.

In total, medium and large companies in the U.S. lose roughly $600,000 annually across the business as a direct result of network brownouts. The biggest money-drains from brownouts include:

  • Lost productivity ($165,054)
  • Monetary damages ($116,964)
  • Lost revenue ($105,051)
  • Damaged reputation ($65,777)
  • Mitigation ($49,894)
  • Business closure ($44,689)
  • Compliance costs ($34,291)
  • Other ($18,463)

It’s important to emphasize that brownouts are different than total network outages, though the financial implications can be just as drastic, the report finds. As anyone who has struggled with choppy video conferences or periods of radio silence from an otherwise connected remote office will attest, the frustration of poor connectivity is often even more of a productivity deterrent than simply working around a down network. And when this is felt by customers outside the enterprise WAN, the costs to business can quickly escalate beyond the $600,000 mark.

The main reason businesses experience consistent brownouts is either a total lack of network performance monitoring or insufficient monitoring strategies, ie. a hodge-podge of incomplete solutions that fail to deliver the comprehensive monitoring teams need to stay ahead of the costliest issues.

When teams employ a comprehensive monitoring solution rather than craft their own piecemeal strategy leveraging a patchwork of tools, it’s not only easier to stay on top of issues, but often a more cost-effective way to keep the network monitoring stack lean and effective.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: observability , network visibility , return on investment , cloud migration , enterprise WAN , cloud computing , digital transformation , network performance monitoring