Downtime and Outages – What’s a Telco to do?

Downtime – what a dirty word. It’s the bane of existence for UC Providers and users alike. When normal operations are disrupted and significant periods of downtime occur, that spells trouble for both the Service Provider and the customer who relies on that UC solution. For a UC Provider, any amount of downtime will sour their relationship with their clientele, no matter the size.

Downtime can be incredibly costly, and not just in terms of losing the trust of the end-user. Service Providers can be hit hard financially if downtime drives clients into the arms of competitors promising more resilience and reliability. What is even more concerning is the fact that the common causes of downtime are unavoidable.

Identifying the Unavoidable Causes of Downtime

To better understand why downtime occurs, let’s take a look at some common causes of downtime that you cannot avoid:

  1. Natural Disasters
  2. Human Error
  3. DDoS

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can cause a great deal of damage as far as IT, UC, and cloud-based services are concerned.

According to a 2013 study released by the Quorum, natural disasters rank as one of the top causes for data center failure. More than one-third of survey respondents cited these types of incidents as the most likely cause of downtime.

Natural disasters are not necessarily limited to such extreme occurrences as gale-force hurricanes or massive earthquakes. Intense summer storms, blizzards, flooding, and even more common weather events can damage communication equipment. And prevent VoIP and UC providers from delivering services to their clientele.

how many natural disasters occur in the us every year

Human Error

The telecom industry is as technologically advanced as ever. But it’s still susceptible to mistakes made by manual operators.

A 2013 report issued by the European Network and Information Security Agency highlighted just how harmful these incidents can be. Although human error accounted for just 5 percent of the observed downtime instances, such events lasted for 26 hours, on average.

As Dark Reading noted, there were a wide variety of manual mistakes reported on in this study. In one situation, a system configuration error committed by a single person resulted in users being unable to make outgoing international calls for a period of four hours. In another event, a ship dropped its anchor on submarine telecom cables, severing them and resulting in service downtime.


People can cause downtime in other ways beyond simple mistakes as well. Malicious attackers can bring telecom systems grinding to a halt or bring them down altogether through cyber-attacks. Most often, these occur as distributed denial-of-service attacks. Flooding Service Providers with traffic and network requests from hackers or other individuals looking to disrupt operations. According to Dark Reading, a single DDoS attack prevented 2.5 million ISP users from accessing the Internet for two hours.

For Service Providers, it’s important to realize that DDoS attacks can be harmful. Even when they aren’t specifically targeting your organization. If a vendor’s servers reside in the same data center space as the victim of a DDoS attack, that excess traffic can easily spill over onto its network, overwhelming available resources.

how many ddos attacks happen every day

What You Can Do to Ease Downtime

When these types of events occur, it’s essential that Service Providers have the ability to minimize their damage. There’s no way to completely prevent human error, natural disasters, or DDoS attacks from happening.

Your best bet is to have a system in place with built-in redundancy. So operations can continue even in the middle of a downtime incident.

Redundancy means that if one site goes offline due to human error, for instance, all of the processes needed to deliver real-time communication will automatically fail over to another node in the network. This way, downtime can be significantly reduced. And engineers can work on fixing the problem without alerting the end-user.

With a redundant solution, Service Providers can minimize the time and money lost to instances of downtime. Resulting in more satisfied customers and a more robust bottom line.

In Need of a More Reliable Solution?

In short, downtime can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. But, now you know that your best bet is to go with a solution that minimizes the effects of downtime. So, how do you find a more reliable solution?

GreenStar Solutions is your answer. With decades in the industry, GreenStar Solutions has forged some of the industries’ strongest professional relationships with our technology partners.

We have built trust with them. And we know the ins and outs of their products and services. Because of this knowledge and trust, we are able to setup our clients with the most cost-effective voice solutions available.

To learn more, visit GreenStar Solutions today.

| European Network & Information Security Agency | Dark Reading | Insurance Information Institute | Digital Attack Map

Kit Webb

Kit Webb

Kit brings over 20 years experience in IT/Telecom. In addition to working with his team creatively, brainstorming new and meaningful ways to change the world, you can find Kit on the karaoke stage or amazing onlookers with his Jenga skills! Kit has 2 children and 3 grandchildren and enjoys spending his free time with his family, traveling, entertaining, and anything outdoors.
Downtime-and-Outages what's a telco to do? Man with umbrella standing before a city with storm clouds
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