Everyone knows that downtime is not good for business, but what does “not good” mean to the bottom line?
Many companies underestimate the costs of downtime, because we often think of it in terms of a catastrophic cyber-attack that brings a company to its knees.
While cyber security protection is certainly still a top concern, what can be just as painful are frequent outages which cause you to lose what seems like “just a few minutes here and a few minutes there.”
It adds up, costing businesses far more than they imagined.
The Average Cost of Downtime
According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600.00 a minute. Of course, this is just an average that varies based on the size of your company, your vertical, your risk tolerance, etc.
Since most business-critical applications are performed digitally, having just part of a network or system go down means employees sitting in front of blank screens and unable to do their jobs.
And that’s costly, no matter what size your business is.
What’s your most important system that you can’t function without?
For many, it’s as simple as email or phone service. For others, it could be a patient scheduling system, legal billing software, client records, access to plans and drawings, donor databases – the list goes on!
Did you know it takes the average person 23 minutes to re-focus on a previous task after an interruption? And that’s on top of the time the employee has wasted sitting around waiting for the app to come back online.
And it’s not just about dollar and cents. Downtime also impacts “soft costs” such as employee morale, your customer’s experience and even the reputation of your company.
So how do you stop this steady flow of dollars out the door?
Our 5 Best Recommendations To Minimize Downtime
While it’s almost impossible to completely eliminate IT downtime, there’s plenty you can do to minimize it.
1. Take Advantage of the Cloud
Much of IT downtime is caused by a local server crash. You can minimize this risk by migrating your business-critical applications and data storage to the cloud. Most cloud computing platforms have redundancy and multiple backups built into their systems.
A reputable cloud managed services provider can help you decide which applications and services would be best suited to move to the cloud, as well as assist with the transition.
2. Perform Regular Server Maintenance
If you do have onsite servers, you should be constantly monitoring the servers' performance to identify errors, frequent load spikes, or abnormal activities before they cause an issue.
In addition, make sure all the peripherals, such as cables and plugs, are well-maintained.
Don't overlook the server environment, which can impact the servers' performance. For example, you should keep the temperature cool, ensure adequate airflow, and prevent dust and dirt from getting into the server room.
If you don’t have the resources to do all of above on a regular basis, run don’t walk to #1 – take advantage of the cloud!
3. Perform Regular Updates on All Devices
Your network is made up of many different components, including operating systems, hardware, and software applications. It's important that every piece is updated regularly, e.g., by installing software updates, patches and making sure the security settings are in place.
We can’t over-emphasize how important it is to keep your computers and servers patched regularly!
Outdated systems are the number one cause of downtime, either through malware attacks or just plain system failures.
4. Beef Up Your Cybersecurity
This is probably the most critical component of reducing downtime, because a cyber attack can literally take you out for days. This not only results in an immediate loss in revenue, but has long-term implications for your company's reputation.
Further, if your business is in a highly regulated industry, downtime and breaches can lead to compliance issues that can result in a hefty penalty.
Does your IT team have the knowledge and resources to stay on top of the latest cybersecurity best practices?
If not, you should use a cybersecurity consulting service to help design and implement an effective IT security strategy for your organization.
5. Make Sure You Have an Up-to-Date BDR Solution
Last but not least – a well-designed backup and data recovery (BDR) solution is essential for minimizing the disruption caused not only by cyber attacks, but also catastrophic weather events, natural disasters, hardware failures, and more.
Old back up systems simply don’t cut it anymore. You need to ensure that your business-critical software applications and data can be restored to a functional state almost instantaneously.
This means choosing the right backup and recovery solution that will meet the needs of your particular business.
Watch this short video to learn why Managed IT Services and Support can reduce your risk of unwanted downtime:
While many of these maintenance tasks aren't as exciting or glamorous as implementing new IT initiatives, they're absolutely essential in making sure that your business is operating efficiently and profitably in the long run.
Click below to take a read of our latest white a paper on the importance of a robust business continuity and disaster recovery strategy if you'd like to learn more!