Glossary of Terms

Internet Resilience

Internet Resilience can be defined as the capacity to ensure availability, performance, reachability, and reliability of the Internet Stack despite adverse conditions.

It does not mean the Internet will always be perfect or downtime is a thing of the past. There will always be interruptions of service, but Internet Resilience means you can quickly bounce back and minimize impact.

The Internet was not built for the scale it operates on today, nor to meet the needs of its modern operations. Infamously, it started out as an academic experiment and its early inventors would never have envisaged a world in which global business, and much else besides, was reliant on it. It simply wasn’t designed for today’s level of scale, volume and complexity. Its origins – and ramifications that result - continue to define some of its greatest challenges in terms of Internet Resilience today.

The Internet remains fragile and complex

Today, there are over a hundred thousand Autonomous Systems (ASes) and many hundreds of thousands of IPv4 and IPv6 networks on the Internet, ranging from the world’s largest broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast to many thousands of enterprises that connect directly to the edge of the Internet to gain access. Each of these ASes makes its own decisions about how and with whom it will connect to the larger web. Within each network, there are other networks, each one with its own protocols and traffic systems. It’s wise therefore to think of the Internet as a network of networks.

Furthermore, the Internet is vulnerable to leaks, hijacks and mistakes, which can lead to security, performance, availability and reachability risks. Protocols built on the basis of trust can be manipulated. These can have a wide range of cascading impacts, such as the service outage experienced by Cloudflare in October 2023 to the infamous October 2021 Meta outage with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which was caused in part by an erroneous BGP update.

Modern organizations require Internet Resilience

Most businesses today depend on digital pipelines for their revenue and operations. Many businesses also operate with a remote or hybrid workforce, making a reliance on the Internet yet more critical. Moreover, users today, whether employees or customers, expect 24/7 service with zero downtime and extremely low latency, regardless of where they’re logging on from.

Ultimately, positive customer and employee experiences are what distinguish leading companies, and the key to ensuring these experiences is Internet Resilience.    

The Internet Resilience formula

Internet Resilience is driven by four cardinal points:

Let’s look briefly at each of these in turn:

  • Reachability – Can your users access the application or service from where they are? If not, what is preventing them from doing so? In order to answer the second question, you need to understand how much of the Internet Stack is typically involved with service delivery - since every component your service is dependent on, must also be reachable to ensure yours is. Resilience issues concerned with reachability are largely due to network instability, such as BGP leaks or ISP peering issues.
  • Availability – The availability of a site or application involves more than just whether it is up and responding to requests. There can be scenarios, for instance, where customers or employees can reach the endpoint, but the service is down, hence unavailable. It’s not enough to know simply that the home or base page is loading. Enterprises need to monitor – and ensure a resilient service for - every single critical user journey on their application.
  • Performance – We’ve all heard it before, slow is the new downtime, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Think simply about your own experience of clicking away from a site just at the point of conversion because the rainbow wheel started spinning and you had to wait simply too long. Hence, why performance is a critical part of the Internet Resilience formula. Monitoring performance involves two fundamentals:some text
    • Establishing a baseline – alerting on breaches
    • Continuous improvement of performance – to maintain a competitive edge
  • Reliability – By comparison to the other three pillars, reliability is a metric understood only over time. Is your application or service consistently i.e. reliably available, reachable and performant? To determine reliability, you need access to a wide range of data over an extended period of time and the ability to slice and dice that data in whatever way you require.

Who is responsible for Internet Resilience?

SREs, reliability practitioners, network engineers and ITOps teams, among others, are at the vanguard of Internet resilience efforts, tasked with ensuring applications and services are reachable, available and performant 24/7 and reliable over time. However, as we delve into in The Internet Resilience Report [link forthcoming], resilience will only truly be embedded within a company if it is addressed – and advocated for – at the executive level.

We are increasingly seeing companies implement Chief Reliability or Chief Resilience Officer positions to foreground the necessity of Internet resilience to the business.

How to achieve Internet Resilience

At Catchpoint, all roads lead to IPM or Internet Performance Monitoring. Simply put, IPM allows you to ensure Internet Resilience. Visibility into every layer of the Internet Stack is essential to monitor and maintain the stability of each component, whether a third-party or not, that underpins the application.

While other platforms exist, only one is purpose built to assure Internet Resilience no matter how complex the Internet becomes. At Catchpoint, we are relentlessly focused on IPM and helping our customers achieve Internet Resilience. Gain the peace of mind from knowing that as the Internet grows more complex, our pace of innovation will keep pace, allowing you to monitor every necessary component of the Internet Stack.

While other platforms exist, only one is purpose built to assure Internet Resilience no matter how complex the Internet becomes. At Catchpoint, we are relentlessly focused on IPM and helping our customers achieve Internet Resilience. Gain peace of mind by knowing that as the Internet grows ever more complex, our pace of innovation will keep up, ensuring that our customers can monitor every necessary component of the Internet Stack from the largest global observability network in the industry.

To find out more about Internet Resilience, and strategies you can apply to better ensure early incident detection and resolution, watch the Webinar: Optimizing CX through 4 Pillars of Internet Resilience Master Class (no registration required).