Without question, we live in a world where staying connected is critical – especially in business. Today, organizations of all sizes and industries rely on technology to manage day to day operations and remain competitive. What kind of an impact would an outage have on these businesses? What if that outage was to last for several hours or more? In many cases, the trickle-down effect could be devastating. So, how can one prevent such an outage from occurring in the first place? The answer is simple: automation.
In many instances, the problem of system-wide outages can be tied to the management of the company’s firewall. Every business has a duty to protect confidential information, which is typically done through the use of a firewall. This essentially allows users to access the web while also automatically weeding out and protecting against incoming hackers, viruses and other malware. Unfortunately, when that firewall experiences some type of failure, the entire connection becomes suspended, leaving end users with the inability to access the web, either externally or internally.
What is the main cause of these devastating firewall errors and, more importantly, how can they be prevented? Recent research revealed that the main source of firewall outages is human error. In fact, a whopping 1/3 of businesses have admitted to having this issue. The problem is mainly due to the fact that so many organizations still continue to manage firewall changes manually, which leaves the door wide open for costly mistakes and serious miscues. The result is often a systemic shut down across the entire network.
Just how many and with what frequency are these outages occurring? At last check, some 33% of organizations polled admitted that they had experienced at least 5 or more outages in the past year – outages that were directly related to their firewall management. What’s more, among companies that are categorized as being in the financial services industry, 17% reported that they’d experienced more than 11 outages over the last year. That’s nearly one outage each and every month!
So, what’s the solution? What can be done to combat these statistics, particularly in a climate that is shifting more and more toward cloud adoption and virtualization? The fact is, with all of these changes, network security is simply becoming too complex to be handled by humans. Even the most seasoned IT professional is capable of making a costly mistake, of which, even small ones can cause significant, system-wide problems. The only way to truly reduce the risk associated with managing firewalls is through IT automation.
When the human component is removed from the process, not only does the risk of error go down significantly, but it also frees up IT professionals to focus on other important business matters that cannot be automated. The good news is, more and more key decision makers are starting to realize this fact and are embracing IT automation as a valuable tool to improve IT performance while maintaining security and compliance, and most importantly – reducing incidents of down time.