Do you know the true cost of poor network management?
With the New Year safely behind us and January in full swing, many companies are in review and assess mode. Budgets, expenditures and planning are all on the menu this month and in the spirit of planning for the coming year, it may be time for a review of your IT assets. And with an assessment of your IT assets comes a look at the true cost of poor network management.
Often, companies have a set-it-and-forget-it approach to network management. In other words, buy the hardware or software once, get it running and think about it again in five years or so, or when you have a problem, whichever comes first. However, the nature of network infrastructure and the threats it defends against is constantly evolving.
A 2015 Gartner study, shows that 80% of outages impacting mission-critical services will be caused by people and process issues. Which means that your network is under threat more from your employees and workflows than from directed attacks against the network itself. This could range from internal breaches from a disgruntled, entrepreneurial or curious employee accessing information that they shouldn’t, to victims of social engineering and phishing attacks, and even to such innocuous workflow activities such as syncing a Dropbox account to a computer within your company’s network. So what is the true cost of poor network management?
Loss of productivity. From slow network speeds due to malware to a company-wide network outage, time is money and every minute that your network isn’t performing to its fullest is costing your company revenue and profit. (Not to mention the morale of your workers when they can’t do their jobs properly.)
Breached personal information and fines. Many organizations, whether in a regulated industry or not, come in contact with what is termed Personally Identifiable information (PII) and includes everything from a client’s name to their social security number, vehicle identifiers and photos. There’s no getting away from breaches in the news these days, but to put a fine point on it, penalties for breaches if a company is found to have been negligent or non-compliant can range up to $1.5M in fines and potential jail sentences to suspension of services and monetary settlements. It’s different for every industry, but shows how serious we’re getting about personal information.
Damaged reputation. And what about your reputation? Breaches may be run-of-the-mill in the news, but your customers that have been affected by breaches, slow response, and inefficient supply, care when it happens to them. And they care when they perceive it to be your fault through negligence or design. Breaches, downtime and lost productivity hurt your organization’s brand, and left long enough, can cost you customers.
It’s difficult to put a dollar amount on these outcomes. But it can be much easier to prevent and plan to protect your network and your customers’ best interests now than have to deal with the fallout from a breach or other incident.
We work with our clients and advocate in general for taking cues from the regulated industries such as finance and healthcare and adopting a mindset of responsible stewardship for your network and your customers’ information. This involves regular monitoring of your systems, refreshing outdated operating systems, applications and policies. (For an example of how badly outdated operating systems can impact your business, review the 2014 Heartbleed virus).
Activities such as an annual technology review and refresh, updated best practices and policies that cover BYOD and social media use by employees all should have a place on your organization’s annual calendar and January is as good a month as any to mark it off.
If these tasks feel overwhelming then SymQuest is here to help. Our experienced team of network engineers can complete an assessment of your network environment and set you up for success in 2016. Contact us today to learn more.