cost of misconfigurations

Brandt, Ralph ralph.brandt at
Thu Aug 2 14:31:30 UTC 2012

The misconfiguration cost is usually not calculable in itself.  But I
think the more important issue is, "How do we prevent it?"  I would
spend more time on prevention than assessing the cost.

I can think of several minor provisioning issues that cost us more in
customer relations than everything else put together and a couple
significant ones that seemed like nothing happened.  And I am not sure I
could have predicted the outcome the day before the event if someone had
handed me the scenario to assess it.  Reason, when it happens the
CURRENT situation is as much a driver of the impact as is the actual
event.  It even goes back to the emotional state of the customer and
maybe if his toast was burned this morning, if he/she had a fight with
the spouse, who flipped him the bird during his drive in and a lot of
other things that dictate mental state.  

I would be very lax to use a vendor who is taking an approach that all
they are concerned about is what an error costs them. I want them to be
more concerned about what that costs their customer (me) and what they
can do to prevent it.

Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. 

Training, sound processes, good management practices, good maintenance,
good personnel selection go a long way.  

To quote Chief Gassaway (fire chief with good stuff on the web for any
business) "Luck validates bad practices."  The REB translation, "We did
it this way for years and nothing bad happened."  

In Chief Gassaway's business, bad practices cause Line of Duty Deaths.
In ours it causes outages, lost revenue and possibly bankruptcy.
Remember, if your company goes belly up, you are out of a job...

Ralph Brandt

-----Original Message-----
From: George Herbert [mailto:george.herbert at] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:17 PM
To: Diogo Montagner
Cc: nanog at
Subject: Re: cost of misconfigurations

On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 5:32 PM, Diogo Montagner
<diogo.montagner at> wrote:
> Hi Darius,
> You are right. The lost of a customer due to those things. However, I
> would classify this as an unknown situation (in terms of risk
> analisys) because the others I mentioned are possible to calculate and
> estimate (they are known). But it is very hard to estimate if a
> customer will cancel the contract because 1 or n network outages. In
> theory, if the customer SLA is not being met consecutively, there is a
> potential probability he will cancel the contract.
> Regards

On the end customer side, I've done a bunch of reliability / risk cost
assessments for various customers over the years.  It's never easy.

For an ISP... customers are fairly locked in, but for big networks and
customers, especially multihoming customers, business goes where they
want it.

SLA costs are easy.  Predicting the final financial impact is hard.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at

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