Accedian Examines Impact of Network Brownouts in COVID-19 Era

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In its bid to better understand the impact of network brownouts in the age of COVID-19, Accedian, an enabler in performance analytics and end user experience solutions, has released the findings of its new research measuring the effects of network brownouts on business productivity and end-user experience.

In a survey of more than 1,000 senior IT decision makers in the US, the report found that one-in-five organizations experience network brownouts on a daily basis since the pandemic hit, and 40% experience them at least several times a week. This results in significant productivity impacts and IT time required to regain acceptable standards on network performance.

For the one in five organizations that experience network brownouts daily, IT teams spend up to a staggering 12.5 hours a week troubleshooting issues that could have been avoided.

“COVID-19 or not, it would be wise for businesses across industries to fortify their networks so they can work more efficiently in this remote, distributed era,” said Sergio Bea, VP Global Enterprise and Channel Sales, Accedian. “If there’s one thing the current pandemic has taught us, it’s that networks and applications are the backbone of the digital economy. In order for businesses to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape, it is important for leaders to understand how the pandemic impacts network performance, as well as the causes and effects of poor network performance on their business productivity, IT teams and end-user experience. Based on our research with IT leaders, we’re able to provide data-driven insights to organizations scaling in this new environment.”

The New Landscape of Network Brownouts in a COVID-19 World

Network brownouts are unexpected performance degradations, excessive slowdowns and network congestion that impact application performance (as opposed to full network outages or blackouts). Since COVID-19, businesses across industries expedited digital transformation efforts to facilitate remote working and continue business operations.

As a result, networks and applications have become heavily strained, causing an influx of network brownouts and a sudden shift in traffic patterns for enterprise applications. According to IT decision makers surveyed for the research:

40% experience network brownouts at least several times a week, while one in five organizations experience them on a daily basis
30% report performance issues with Office 365 and other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud applications, and 26% report issues with audio/video conferencing applications

60% report an increase in end-user complaints since the pandemic hit – due primarily to performance degradations, excessive slowdowns and network congestion that impact application performance

This doesn’t include the, on average, 27% of end-user application performance issues that are not even reported to IT teams, emphasizing the importance of actively monitoring performance issues that otherwise would go undetected

Causes of Network Brownouts and the Cost of Resolving Them

As society’s reliance on digital applications continues to grow, it’s important for organizations to understand the major contributors to network brownouts in order to better prepare for and address future network challenges. While investing in the right network performance technology is a critical piece of this, survey respondents say the top three causes of network brownouts are:

Issues with their network connectivity provider (47%)
Maintenance and upgrades (43%) or increased website/database traffic (43%)
Third-party technology providers (36%)
Given the proliferation of network brownouts and the negative impact on end-user experience, many organizations are investing significant time and resources to optimize networks:

More than half (53%) of respondents spent an average of 2.5 hours resolving a network brownout
For the one in five organizations that experience network brownouts daily, their IT team wastes up to 12.5 hours a week troubleshooting issues that could have been avoided
Proactive Measures for Addressing Network Brownouts

There’s no arguing that network brownouts significantly impact the bottom line for business, IT teams and end-user experience as businesses continue to migrate to cloud and digital infrastructure and operations.

In order to get ahead of network brownouts, organizations will have to move from reactive to proactive performance monitoring, which requires technology that provides integrated visibility into network connectivity and application performance. This includes an analysis of performance data that empowers IT teams to enforce performance SLAs with network service providers and allows them to ensure they are receiving the bandwidth they’re paying for.

Preventing network brownouts will also entail coordinating with third-party technology vendors to ensure they’re equipped with the appropriate tools to mitigate network brownouts on their end, as well as ensuring regular maintenance practices and the ability to scale web traffic during busy periods.


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