Zero Preventable Downtime: Modernising the Service Management Framework for Adaptive Networks

Anoop Mohanan · 30 March 2021 · 4 minute read

Unplanned application downtime can have a devastating impact on businesses, with an estimated cost of between $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion per year, according to an IDC survey of Fortune 1000 companies. While this might sound dire, it’s an issue that has only become more complicated over the past year, as employees moved out of centralised hubs and into distributed home offices.

This trend is set to continue in 2021, as staff adapt to a new hybrid way of working, encompassing both remote and in-office environments. This increase in network diversity, distribution, and scalability has the potential to seriously disrupt the performance of networks and cause widespread unplanned downtime for those who aren’t prepared.

The root causes of downtime can be nuanced, as network environments differ in their technology and architectural layout. However, there are a few key trends that are worth noting, as these have been recognised as the major pain points for organisations suffering from network downtime.

According to a Telstra survey1Refer to references at end of content, the three main drivers of network downtime are unknown single points of failure (SPOF) which often occur in the last mile, preventable configuration errors, and defective hardware (often due to improperly managed and positioned WAN devices).

These issues can be devastating for businesses, causing core processes to come to a halt and ultimately impacting bottom lines. 

How managed SD-WAN and a Zero Preventable Downtime framework can help

SD-WAN increases the diversity of network environments and facilitates the use of internet within WANs. When combined with a Zero Preventable Downtime framework, SD-WAN is highly efficient at reducing unplanned downtime, whilst maintaining security.

This approach is possible through incorporating features such as advanced application routing, and automated failover. The adoption of SD-WAN over the last few years has also driven a huge improvement in configuration errors due to a reduction in manual, site-by-site configuration.

One of the biggest contributors to unknown single points of failure – cited as the biggest downtime – related pain point in our analysis – is a lack of transparency. This is where a managed SD-WAN service can drive value, as it involves the identification and elimination of all unknown SPOF.

With network security also an important part of ensuring uptime, Telstra can work with organisations to ensure SD-WAN is built with security in mind from the design stage. SD-WAN delivers a range of security features including network segmentation, next-generation firewalls as well as integration with other third-party security services.

Innovation is advancing at break-neck speed, with the dramatic acceleration of digital transformation since the pandemic, swift migration of key applications to the cloud, and shadow IT increasing risk profiles. This landscape is challenging for organisations to manage on their own, so it’s important to get a Managed Serviced Partner on board that can help them navigate this journey.

Building a robust approach to ‘Zero Preventable Downtime’

Telstra has crafted a services framework designed to securely guide customers towards achieving Zero Preventable Downtime within their IT environments.

This has been developed as part of our managed SD-WAN deployment services, and includes a three-step process spanning the design, delivery, and managed stages of the SD-WAN lifecycle. When customers turn to Telstra for a Zero Preventable Downtime framework, we work to:

  1. Facilitate ‘ruthlessly effective’ risk prioritisation
  2. Re-allocate more focus on anticipating future problems
  3. Significantly enhance transparency on network risk

It’s important that firms use historical breach and failure data so that they can fix issues, while at the same time, use this data to anticipate future failure modes. Organisations should subsequently implement detection controls for each failure mode, while continuing to conduct periodic audits to assess effectiveness.

Making the most of SD-WAN

A common area of concern in SD-WAN adoption is that many organisations don’t use all of its features. This is often due to risk aversion, as organisations tend to stick with strategies that have worked for them in the past.

However, this can lead to a significant underutilisation of the technology, with a lot of potential value going to waste. Using Telstra Managed SD-WAN feature adoption matrix, we lay out in simple terms all of the features of SD-WAN and how customers could use them to alleviate pain points.

The adoption matrix involves recurring check-ins designed to ensure that customers are using all current SD-WAN features applicable to their organisation, suggesting improvements upon existing SD-WAN infrastructure.

To eliminate potential SPOF and address issues with configurations or devices, customers must fully leverage the full potential SD-WAN has to offer. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and organisations need to assess their specific priorities.

Are you ready to take full advantage of SD-WAN’s capabilities and embrace a world without downtime? Book a no-obligation session with one of our technical experts now.

1. The Journey Towards Zero ‘Preventable Downtime’, Telstra, 2019

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