Whether you agree or not, it’s a fact – just a couple years ago, small businesses with up to 50 million in annual revenue reported that just a single hour of downtime cost them $8,600.
If your company is reliant on technology, any IT downtime could result in detrimental revenue loss, a significant decrease in productivity, and a negative customer experience.
There are multiple ways you can define downtime, but it is most commonly defined as the time in which a machine, typically a computer, server or network, is shut down and out of action.
The main cost of downtime is not the fix itself, it is the halt in your business’ productivity. If an IT-related or natural disaster occurs and takes critical systems offline, employees will be unable to complete their tasks, yet your normal business expenses will carry on.
During that time, you incur all the expenses of running a business without the revenue you would usually generate. Even if downtime does not grind everything to a halt, some of your staff will have to divert themselves from their normal work to mitigate the problem – again reducing productivity. Furthermore, while your systems are down, you can’t deliver services or sell products to current and potential new clients.
Not all the costs associated with downtime have a tangible price tag. The trust of your clients and the reputation of your company are invaluable assets that can erode with prolonged or frequent downtime issues. A diminished reputation can negatively affect your future business opportunities.
Some downtime is inevitable, but much of it can be prevented and mitigated.
Power Outage: If your power source fails, that can lead to a long list of complications like servers going down and lost, unsaved data.
Cybercrime: Cybercrime has increased in recent years and is still on the rise. All it takes is one employee opening a malicious attachment and your business data could be held hostage.
Human Error: Accidentally unplugging key equipment, overloading the system, and improper installations can all cause downtime, but maintaining certain policies and procedures can cut down on human error.
Natural Disasters: Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes happen. Having a plan for getting back to business if the unthinkable happens is the fastest way to recover.
Server Reboot: When you restart your server, you may experience a few minutes of downtime due to the need for your system to shut down, reboot and restart the necessary processes in order to respond to incoming requests.
Software Restart: Restarting a process, a program running on your computer, on a web server may cause downtime while the process is restarting.
Network Disconnect: Servers that are physically disconnected from a network will not be reachable by the systems on the network.
Network Outage: Clients will not be able to communicate with a server if any part of the network is not functioning between the server and the client.
Traffic Overload: Servers that are overloaded with more traffic than they can handle will not be able to respond to all the incoming requests. Users may experience downtime until the peak in traffic decreases.
Hardware Failure: The server may stop functioning if important hardware components, such as HDD or SSD, fail.
Software Failure: If a process on a server stops running, the server will not be able to respond to requests until the process is restarted.
…by stopping it in the first place.
The best way to approach downtime prevention is proactively – you need to keep an eye out for system issues that can spiral into total stoppages. You need to implement a managed backup solution and put best practices into place to prevent outages. You need to enhance your cybersecurity to protect against cybercrime.
Unfortunately, that’s a lot for you to handle on your own, especially when have other work to see to. That’s why a managed IT services company can be so helpful. They’ll provide 24/7 active monitoring of your systems, business continuity best practices and cybersecurity services that will keep costly downtime at a minimum.