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Three Small Issues That Can Cause Network Failure – and How To Fix Them

network failure

In a lot of ways, your network is like a house of cards – all it takes is one minor fault for everything to come crashing down. Here are a few of the most common ones, and what can be done about them.

For an administrator, troubleshooting network errors is a fact of life. It’s your job to ensure your organization’s infrastructure is running smoothly – and to spring to action when it isn’t. In a lot of ways, that can often feel like balancing a house of cards.

Even a redundant network can be a very fragile thing, and all it takes is one relatively minor issue or bottleneck for everything to come grinding to a halt. As an admin, it’s important that you train yourself to recognize these bottlenecks – including (and especially) the ones that seem small enough to escape your notice. Because what seems like a minor issue at first glance can quickly snowball into a network crash.

Here are a few of the most common instances where that can happen.

User Error

The Problem

If you’ve worked in IT for a while, you probably aren’t surprised to see this at the top of the list. After all, the end user is the biggest threat to security no matter your organization. Here’s the thing, though – I’m not talking about egregious, obvious mistakes.

I’m talking about minor oversights. A misconfigured server here, an improperly plugged-in network cable there, and suddenly you’re dealing with a ripple effect that brings down your entire business. That’s exactly what happened with ISP Level 3 last November.

How To Fix It

Just be more cautious. Ensure there are checks and balances in place to account for the fact that everyone makes mistakes (even you). If possible, get another set of eyes on your network to evaluate anything that might cause a bottleneck, leading to a network failure.

Application Problems

The Problem

A misconfigured load balancer. A minor coding error that snowballs into a full-fledged network bottleneck, then eventually crashes a server, leading to a network failure. An incompatible application that returns a flood of error messages so immense that your systems can’t handle it. A botched application upgrade.

You might not think it, but there are many ways an app might cause your network to fail, especially if you aren’t paying close enough attention.

How To Fix It

There are a few measures you can take here:

  • Implement a more comprehensive code review process.
  • Test every application you deploy in a pre-production environment before releasing it to the users. This should include both bug-testing and stress testing.
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