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Softchoice study finds corporate networking infrastructure ‘built on shaky foundation’

An analysis by Toronto-based Softchoice of 78 corporate networking environments reveals that neglecting device management is exposing organizations to the risk of network outage, ratcheting up maintenance costs, and degrading network...


April 18, 2012  


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An analysis by Toronto-based Softchoice of 78 corporate networking environments reveals that neglecting device management is exposing organizations to the risk of network outage, ratcheting up maintenance costs, and degrading network performance. 

According to the company, a provider of hardware, software and services, while global spending on network security is estimated at more than $7 billion annually and growing, without effective asset management, network maintenance represents a significant and largely overlooked threat to many organizations.

The findings of Softchoice’s Strategic Network Infrastructure study come after a series of high profile outages that included some of North America’s largest banks, wireless providers and e-commerce sites, the company said in a release, adding that  the fallout has tarnished major brand names and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues for both organizations and consumers.

“In the age of mobility and cloud computing, the network is arguably the most important pillar in today’s IT environment,” said David MacDonald, president and CEO of Softchoice. “Whether due to a lack of tools and resources or effective strategy, network maintenance is becoming an Achilles heel for many organizations.”

Over the past two years Softchoice analyzed network devices housed at 78 small, mid-market and enterprise organizations from across the United States and Canada. Key findings include:

* 36% of network devices have no vendor maintenance coverage whatsoever. In the event that one of these devices fails, the company has no recourse but to manage fixing or replacing the device themselves, a process that could potentially take days and effectively shut down operations.

* 23% of devices are at or approaching ‘end of support’. Though still in use, these devices are no longer supported by the manufacturer which means technical, onsite support or replacement options are no longer available.

* An average of 44 configuration errors were found within each environment. The severity of a configuration or ‘service affecting error’ can range from degrading network performance to causing an outright outage.

 “Like good engineering, network infrastructure is largely invisible until it becomes an issue or worse, front page news,” said Jason Mcneill, director of business development for Softchoice. “Organizations need to apply the same rigor to the network as they do to managing other essential IT assets. That means establishing processes so you know where these devices are in terms of their lifecycle, what updates are required and tracking maintenance coverage on a consistent basis.”