Outages More Common, Lengthy in U.K. Than in U.S.

    February 16, 2017

    By Scott Adams

    Longer outages equate to more money lost for U.K. businesses.

    For many modern companies, success is dependent upon complex IT infrastructures — and as a result, IT outages can cripple vital operations and can cost a pretty penny. In 2015, the IHS determined that a single outage costs mid-size companies $1 million per outage (on average), and larger companies can stand to lose over $60 million per outage. For that year in total, IT downtime cost North American organizations a total of $700 billion.

    New research from internet performance management company Dyn shows that these costly outages take twice as long to identify and address in the U.K. than they do in the US. That means double the costs and double the disruption to crucial functions within each organization — but what caused this transatlantic performance gap?

    Major Outages Harm U.K. Businesses

    In September 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority suffered a “major IT incident” that knocked out many of their online services. Ironically, the outage occurred soon after the British financial watchdog urged City firms to safeguard their system against cyberattacks (which followed several attacks targeting banks’ online infrastructures). After the FCA restored its systems, it was revealed that the error was a result of a “physical hardware” issue.  

    The very same month, British Airways suffered a computer outage. The “IT glitch,” as the company described it, forced the airline to implement a manual fallback process that caused long lines for passengers and lengthy delays. A deluge of anger from inconvenienced passengers led the airline to issue an apology via Twitter that read, “We apologise to our customers for the delay and we appreciate their patience as our IT teams work to resolve this issue. Our colleagues are doing everything possible to check in customers for their journey.”

    What’s the Issue?

    Why are U.K. companies slower to recognize and rectify IT outages than their US counterparts? According to Dyn Managing Director Paul Heywood, the problem is a result of U.K. organizations failing to properly monitor their systems.

    "It is...worrying to see that just four in ten U.K. organisations monitor their network activity to identify patterns and any anomalies," Heywood told IT Pro. "Given that over half of internet disruptions happen outside a company’s network - resulting in reputational damage, loss of revenue and new business for many U.K. organisations, as well as multiple headaches for any IT team - it’s time for companies to realise how important visibility into the performance of the complex, volatile internet is."

    While companies have set up walls within their infrastructure to keep intruders from infiltrating their systems, those walls often impede the company’s ability to see issues from the inside out. Outages then lead to a loss of new business and a loss of revenue, and those losses are crippling regardless of a company’s size.

    Powerful IT Solutions

    Though the U.K. suffers from widespread IT issues, solutions exist for these problems. "Businesses need to take control and remove the blindfolds to gain a complete picture of their network and how it connects to the wider world,” Heywood explained. “To do so requires investing in data and analytics solutions that measure the performance of the internet and cloud-vendors, as well as adding secondary DNS solutions to help mitigate risks and ensure business continuity.”

    Because companies rely so heavily on the stability of their infrastructure, anything short of the best monitoring and analytics tools can result in disaster. An all-inclusive management system like Vityl from TeamQuest provides the infrastructure monitoring and analytics tools that enable IT professionals to make proactive decisions in order to maintain stability. Furthermore, Vityl simplifies and presents the findings of these tools in order to help executives better understand their IT needs.

    Outages cost businesses too much for them to sit back and firefight — modern infrastructure necessitates a proactive approach.