The Disadvantages of a Centralized Network Scheme

by Matt McGew

A computer network connects computing devices and supports communication between these devices. Networks use different schemes to create these connections. The scheme used will depend on the size of the network, the services offered and the capital available to support the network. A centralized network is one such scheme commonly used to create and support a network.


A centralized network implies a central focus of control. In other words, the focus of a centralized network is control. For example, through effective management, a centralized network can control speed, customer service, flexibility and reorganization within the network. While centralization does have benefits, this type of network also poses several significant disadvantages.

Complete Failure

The possibility of a complete failure is a major concern for networks that use a centralized scheme. For example, fire, water damage or an electric blackout can cause the complete failure of a centralized network. Additionally, many centralized systems use backups in the same location. This can result in the complete loss of all the information within the network. Therefore, when implementing a centralized network, always place the backup system in a secondary location.

Access and Diversity

Another disadvantage of the centralized network scheme relates to access. In many cases, individuals accessing the network have different needs. Centralized systems require users to access information on the network uniformly using the same processes. This type of network, therefore, may not support the flexibility required by multiple users with varied needs. Additionally, a centralized system uses a single operating system for the entire network. While this can have advantages for some users, it limits diversity within the network and can prevent some users from accessing the network.


Security is a critical component of any network system. Centralized systems create centralized targets. Regardless of the security measures taken to protect the network, a centralized system is easier to attack than a decentralized system. Networks with multiple locations that support different operating systems offer better safeguards against complete neutralization by a virus or other type of attack.

About the Author

Since 1992 Matt McGew has provided content for on and offline businesses and publications. Previous work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," Travelocity and "GQ Magazine." McGew specializes in search engine optimization and has a Master of Arts in journalism from New York University.