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Human Factors Lead to Network Outages, and This Survey Proves It


The human operating system is culpable for a prevalent amount of network outages, a new global study finds. Conducted by Dimensional Research, the study (called “Network Complexity, Change, and Human Factors Are Failing the Business”) surveyed 315 network professionals regarding their experiences with various issues such network outages, vulnerabilities and compliance.

What did the survey bright to light?

  • 97% of the participants admit that human factors (a.k.a. the human OS) cause network outages;
  • Two thirds say that monitoring solutions fail to foresee the issues;
  • 74% scrutinize that network changes somewhat affect their business a few times a year, or even more;
  • 4 out of 10 companies lack a proper implementation of network segmentation.

In a nutshell, the report’s findings reveal that the human factor is leading when it comes to network outages which occur quite frequently. The issues may be linked to changes in the network or the growing complexity of the network. When the particular company is facing an issue, hours may pass before the problem is reported. Then, it would take more hours for the problem to be fixed.

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It may be considered a paradox but what is caused by human error usually is fixed by humans, manually. The other option is using event and flow monitoring solutions. Unfortunately, as pointed out by respondents, the present monitoring solutions fail to predict most incidents. Add in the multiple vulnerabilities, and you have a recipe for network disasters. It’s only natural that network professionals are seeking more adequate solutions that provide liable intelligence about the network.

That being said, the purpose of the survey was to “capture how network professionals balanced increased network complexity and required changes with network uptime, availability, security and compliance requirements,” as explained by James Brear, president and CEO of Veriflow (the company that issued the research).

Manual processes are also to blame as they cause issues on back end. Numbers show that the more complex networks become, the more network outages are increasing. This is revealed by 59% of the survey participants. Furthermore, 69% rely on manual processes, i.e. inspecting devices via the command line interface (CLI), inspecting configurations and performing manual tracerouters on pings. All in all, the prevalence of manual checks and monitoring compared to predictive solutions displays why there are so many possible inefficiencies in network management.

Related: Privileged Users Are the Riskiest in an Organization, Security Survey Says

We get to another paradox. Even though many of the respondents say that their organization has network compliance requirements to ensure privacy and security, 80% still lack full confidence that their network is fully compliant. 83% added that compliance reporting is done manually.

All of this leads to the high demand in predictive solutions. These are the requirements almost all participants agreed on:

  • A solution that predicts impending network outages;
  • A solution that accelerates network issue resolution;
  • A continuous verification of compliance and automation of compliance reporting;
  • An ability to identify network segmentation and micro-segmentation vulnerabilities.

You can download the full report here.

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the project started. A professional with 10+ years of experience in creating engaging content. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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