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Most Network Outages Are Internal Problems

Network management seems to be less a shot in the dark than a shot in the foot.

Despite the mint companies spend on firewalls, intrusion detection, and antivirus software, a new study reveals roughly a third of all network outages are self-inflicted.

According to a Yankee Group survey of 229 corporate and government network administrators managing more than 50 network devices, 31% of outages over the last year were caused by human error. Half were caused by unauthorized changes to their networks. And a staggering 64% of organizations had no automated way to correlate network downtime with configuration changes.

"We thought things were bad, but when you see the numbers, it's astonishing," says Al Hauf, marketing director with authentication vendor Gold Wire. "It shows companies could improve how they control configuration changes and eliminate a third of their downtime," he says. Problems caused by a telco or ISP resulted in downtime 35% of the time; power failures were at fault 14% of the time. Hardware problems forced outages 12% of the time and unresolved problems accounted for 8% of the downtime.

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