In today’s always-on, fast-paced, and infinitely connected world, customers take for granted that networks will just work. Terms such as high-availability and 99.999% uptime are tossed out as absolutes in sales conversations and customer engagements. Yet, the basis for such assertions is uncertain at best and completely unrealistic without a plan for dealing with services at the edge.
In this chapter, we survey the classes of challenges to the networks and applications that your business and your users depend on. Identifying these challenges can help you to see where you are exposed—and where you need to focus resources so that your customers aren’t exposed to the effects of their disruption.
We begin at the lowest level—the systems that underlie the data channels you depend on.
The internet is based on a set of strategically connected “backbone” networks that are based on localized nodes. The nodes are, in turn, based on other systems and many smaller networks connecting those devices. The key communication components that allow the internet to function are managed and owned by a combination of telecommunications (telco) companies, ISPs, and leased or purchased fiber implementations that provide connectivity from point to point—all with their own vulnerabilities. Though these core systems are hardened with monitoring and security measures, they are not entirely ...