April 03, 2014

When strategic business assets fail

According to analysts, the loss of a business-critical application service such as email could cost an organization in the region of $ 1,000 per minute – more than a million dollars per day – while the impact of data center downtime, brought about by a corporate-wide computer network failure, could run to more than eight million dollars per day and bring a company to its knees.

According to the Strategic Research Institute, companies that are unable to resume normal business processes within 10 days of such a catastrophic disaster are unlikely to survive more than a year.

For some businesses, data loss – either through network failure or malicious intent – could have devastating impacts. For example, the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says the global effect of hacking is in the range of $300 billion to $400 billion per year. This is not including less direct costs which may include loss of reputation and customer churn which are not immediately quantifiable.

Today, most industry captains are crucially aware not only of the value of data integrity but also network performance and the potential for the failure of either of these two pillars to break a business and the users it serves.

The probability for failure is greater today than it was just five years ago. Why? Because the enterprise network is more exposed to risk than ever before.

It is frequently accessed via Wi-Fi, typically by multiple privately-owned smart devices including phones, laptop PCs and tablets. Network-attached users also download and use unsecured applications that interact with many millions of web sites and cloud-based services with multi-media voice, data and video content.

In many instances these new applications have the potential to become business-critical at the snap of the fingers.  Studies indicate that many data loss issues occur because of malware perpetuated by unauthorized network-attached smart devices.

With 1.9 billion smartphones in circulation 2013, growing to 5.6 billion by 2019, and with more than 100 billion ‘apps’ downloaded in 2013, projected to grow to nearly 270 billion by 2017, corporate networks have become places where the integrity of vital business information is increasingly in jeopardy.

Fortunately, company chiefs are recognizing that the network is now not only a means of connectivity but the ideal place to actively mine for important and perhaps hidden nuggets of business intelligence that can be used to help counter threats and improve performance. The network is thus poised to evolve into one of the most important strategic business assets.

In a previous blog post, I highlighted the gap between business intelligence and network management. Now I would like to underline the value of network analytics as one of the most valuable technologies for bridging this gap.

Network analysis is vital to understanding the dynamics associated with merging the flow of application data to and from the network with additional contextual information about servers, systems, user-devices and their roles and location.

Providing the highest levels of analysis is Purview, a network-powered application analytics and optimization solution from Extreme Networks. It captures and analyses context-based data traffic to deliver meaningful intelligence about applications, users, locations and devices.

Designed to increase the value of the network as a strategic business asset, it enables the mining of network-based business events for information that will help business leaders make faster and more effective decisions on a number of fronts by employing advanced business analytics technologies and techniques.

With Purview, they will be able to achieve these goals while maximizing network security and performance, improving the user experience and gaining valuable insight into customer application usage and behavior.

Looking to the future, we can expect the power to convert knowledge into competitive advantage via leading-edge analytics solutions to result in new types of network deployments never before considered possible.

About The Contributor:
Martin MayRegional Director, Africa

Martin came to South Africa in 1992, relocated by Cabletron Systems to begin operations in Africa. May has driven Extreme Networks forward in Africa and is a leading advisor in the areas of infrastructure security utilizing technologies such as NAC, IDS/IPS and network-based security.

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