According to new research conducted on behalf of supplier Avaya, European companies are losing an average of €73,644 per annum due to the effects of network downtime.
It was found that traditional network vulnerabilities and outages are causing far greater problems than most CIOs realise.
Besides the obvious financial impact, network outages can negatively affect company growth and even result in job losses, with one in five companies saying they had fired an employee for bringing down the network.
More often than not, mistakes made while configuring changes at the network core were to blame, with 81% of IT professionals surveyed saying human error had knocked them offline.
The impact of human error went far beyond the network room, with many businesses saying they experienced a drop in employee productivity, disruption to the supply chain and delays to other IT projects.
The survey also showed that European businesses were waiting an average of 29 days to make changes to their corporate networks.
Given that businesses make around 13 changes a year, this can mean waiting for over a year for upgrades to take place, with the situation worst in Russia and best in Germany.
A mere 2% of businesses said they never had to wait for a suitable maintenance window.
"Many companies wait longer for maintenance windows in an effort to reduce network errors but, in reality, the opposite occurs. This will continue to be a self-perpetuating problem unless these businesses can move to a more automated, simpler and flexible network environment," said Avayas' Head of EU Networking, Adrian Brookes.
Additionally, the data shows that virtually all businesses are negatively affected by network complexity limiting their deployment options, with productivity, document management and mobile security strategies all areas badly affected by this factor.
"Bottom line, network complexity increases wait time; wait time affects margins and decreases the ability of IT to provide the company with a competitive edge" added Brookes.
Just over 700 IT professionals in organisations with more than 250 seats participated in the research, from Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, the Nordics, Russia, Spain and the UK.