The EU Agency ENISA [the European Network and Information Security Agency] launches a report on resilience of communication networks. The survey reveals a better than expected network availability, with only 10 hours downtime a year. Availability is vital not only to business, but also to private consumers. Service providers show a higher level of service to both actors than expected.
Downtime on your network? The ENISA survey nevertheless shows that there is only 10 hours downtime a year and over 99.9% availability. The availability of networks, services and business continuity is of major concern for all business actors and consumers alike across Europe. As the number of disruptions increases, network operators and service providers put measures in place to ensure the resilience of public communication networks. However, today there are significant differences in the approaches deployed by network operators and service providers across Europe. The ENISA survey of network operators across the EU, polled by the end of 2008, is based on 54 responses. The survey found that operators take network resilience seriously:
- Top network threats are hardware, software and location incidents, but also personnel incidents were also significantly represented.
- Operators describe their network and risk management procedures as fairly mature.
- There is no significant variation by size of operator regarding business continuity procedures.
The Agency commented:
“It was reassuring to find how well both small and bigger network operators and service providers manage their network availability”
Some key conclusions:
- Some alternative operators, however, are not placing enough priority on resilience. Alternative operators vary widely and are often very small. As such, resilience recommendations may not apply e.g. if they do not operate infrastructure critical to public welfare.
- This ambiguity leads to difficulty for policy-makers as to try to develop industry standards and recommendations for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Such efforts should be optional, or limited to infrastructure critical to public welfare.
- IDC recommends the production of guidelines for operators to improve the resilience and operations of their networks.
The report was Commissioned by ENISA and executed by the IDC. The survey represents a variety of size, services offered, etc, of telecoms operators distributed across 17 of the EU27. The full survey addresses: 1. Threats to the networks, 2. Organisational factors in managing resilience, 3. Maturity of network management processes, 4. Business Continuity planning, 5. Managing third-party dependencies, and 6. Risk management.
Background: Resilience characterises those networks that provide and maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of faults which affect their normal operation: where faults should be invisible to users. This study is done in the context of ENISA’s multi annual thematic program on Resilience of public communication networks.