Causes of Network Downtime and How to Avoid Them

what is a network outage

The current digital environment requires organizations to have a reliable system connected through a vibrant ecosystem of networks. These connections have made it possible to conduct business at any time, from any location or time zone.

But unplanned network downtime is costly to any business, causing disruption of production, loss of data and revenues and communication breakage.

In fact, a report by Ponemon Institute states that network downtime can cost a small- or medium-sized business anywhere from $8,000 to $74,000 per hour, depending on how much your business operations rely on technology. No matter the size of your company, you will undoubtedly face significant impacts during a network outage.

You should, therefore, prioritize reducing network downtime in your office. You can do this by first identifying the possible root causes of downtime and then taking the steps necessary to eradicate those issues.

Here are the most common causes of network downtime and what you can do to avoid them:

Human Error

Human error is the leading cause of network downtime. A survey by Information Technology Intelligence Corps on Server Reliability found that human error is responsible for 58% of network downtime.

Some human errors include failing to upgrade or use the right-sized servers to accommodate data, using outdated software or failing to implement regular security patches. Additionally, one of the most common forms of successful malware attacks is phishing emails, which target staff and attempt to get them to open malicious links, send private information or otherwise compromise systems and data.

The best way to avoid human error is through proper documentation and training. It’s imperative to stay up to date on the latest upgrades and security patches, as well as provide cybersecurity training to your staff.


Device configuration, if done incorrectly, can cause extended periods of downtime. Misconfiguration accounts for a huge portion of unplanned outages, of which router outages are the main suspect.

To avoid misconfiguration, you should opt for automatic changes implementation instead of the manual settings. Test out all the changes in a lab environment before putting them into effect in your system.

Security Breaches

Security breaches can lead to network downtime since they allow unauthorized access to protected data, making your network vulnerable. Additionally, security failure can also affect the network through hardware theft or damaged equipment.

To avoid a security breach of any kind, you must ensure 24/7 surveillance and monitoring of your systems. Put proper security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access and update them regularly. Look out for zero-day vulnerabilities and other emerging threats that may impact your systems, including advanced ransomware and phishing attempts.

Old Equipment 

The older your machine gets, the higher the chances it has of becoming obsolete. Your devices should have an updated operating system to run the latest software. Outdated equipment cannot run today’s elaborate software, which slows down performance and possible system crashes.

To avoid network downtime due to old equipment, take regular inventory for timely upgrades whenever necessary. Make sure your hardware remains compatible with the cybersecurity software and operating system you are using. If you need assistance, AxiaTP offers automatic upgrades every 36 months to their customers, as well as inventory and asset management, ensuring your business never falls behind on the latest technology.

Software and Hardware Failures

Despite continual improvements in the reliability of server hardware, software, and underlying components, software and hardware failures still occur.

Aging hardware is highly susceptible to network downtime due to server and application crashes. Overloading the servers without upgrading them to handle more data can also lead to crashing or slower response times. The system might experience sporadic system failures before ultimately crashing completely.

Ensure regular maintenance and upgrading of your systems to avoid software and hardware failures. Also, implement redundancies to ensure failure at one point does not affect the whole system.

Power Failures

All systems need power to operate, yet power supply is not always reliable and is subject to failure in harsh weather conditions, faults at power stations and short circuiting.

To ensure reliable power supply, you should confirm that each circuit can supply enough power by itself. That way, switching off one circuit during maintenance will not lead to the failure of other components. Further, you can keep a backup power supply to ensure your systems can continue running in case of power outages.

Understaffed IT Department

Most organizations do not recognize the importance of an adequate IT department in the workplace. The IT department is responsible for designing, maintaining and supporting the organization’s technology infrastructure. They are responsible for your network management by deploying and operating Internet protocol networks

If you have an understaffed IT department, you will experience slower system analysis, upgrades and other routine maintenance, leading to network slowdown. Additionally, your limited IT personnel will be forced to address the most pressing IT vulnerabilities in your systems rather than initiate preventative measures to reduce the risk of downtime altogether.

If you’re dealing with an understaffed IT department as well as extended periods of downtime, the best plan of action to take is to outsource your IT to a reliable Managed Service Provider (MSP). An MSP dedicates a full-stack team of IT professionals to your organization to ensure your IT infrastructure is developed, strategized and managed according to your needs.

At AxiaTP, our outsourced teams have greater time and resources than in-house IT specialists typically do, so we will be able to more quickly and efficiently address issues and get your systems back up and running after downtime occurs. We will also monitor your systems 24/7 to prevent root causes of downtime and any security threats that may lead to a data breach.

Network downtime is disastrous for your organization. Other than reducing cash flow, it damages your reputation, lowers employee morale and leads to poor customer service. Once you identify the common causes of downtime, you can easily keep safe by taking the necessary precautions, especially when you outsource your IT to a team of experienced professionals.

Are you looking for a reliable team of IT experts? Get in touch with AxiaTP for a range of the latest IT solutions for your toughest business challenges and a guarantee of reduced downtime.