Avoiding Downtime…

By: Samantha Geary, Marketing Executive

Picture this- you’re hard at work, driving your business to success and your network crashes just a couple of hours before an important deadline.

Believe it or not, 90% of companies experience some form of downtime (according to industry leader – Datto)  and unfortunately it’s likely that you’ll become part of this percentage if you haven’t already.

Could your business afford to be down for 24 hours?

If your business relies on IT then of course the answer is no.

No disaster is convenient and unfortunately, they do tend to happen at the worst possible time. So, it’s fundamental to prepare your business for the worse, because at the end of the day – time is money.

Regardless of the size of your network, downtime will impact a number of things including: productivity, finances and your products and services.

 

Productivity

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in the position of being hard at work and the internet connection goes down, or your computer crashes. Your eager attitude starts to deplete and what was once a 10 on the productivity scale goes down to a 3.

This results in loss of sales revenue and employee dissatisfaction, not to mention employee frustration. All in all- it’s not an ideal situation.

Finances

It’s not just productivity that takes a beating. A number of things are affected including your finances. This covers everything within your business that downtime will have a negative financial effect upon.

So, this things like:

Labour Productivity – Number of employees affected and the number of productivity lost during the outage.

RevenueBilling losses and the loss in future revenue.

Damaged ReputationIf downtime affects your business regularly or for long periods of time then naturally, many of your customers are going to be peeved. It’s not just your customers that will experience interruption though, downtime can affect your business partners and suppliers too.

Financial Performance Things like payment guarantees fall under financial loss when it comes to downtime.

Of course, the points above are not the only harmful ‘financial’ consequences to downtime, but it shows the different elements in which your business could suffer if a disaster was to strike.

 

Right, time to get your hypothetical hat on. Let me set the scene:

 You run a medium-sized and extremely successful Digital Marketing Agency, you have 100 employees and 150 computers. Efficiency is something you strive for and you have several deadlines that need to be met this week. In the dead of night when everyone is sleeping safe and sound in their humble abodes your offices are burnt to the ground and all your IT hardware is burnt to the ground. What would you do?

Dramatic, I know, but not impossible.

Downtime can rear its nasty head at any point. If you are not prepared for all types of disaster then how will you keep your business afloat and your customers happy if something unlikely were to happen like the above scenario?

Most businesses rely heavily on IT and with this ever-increasing reliance, it’s imperative to avoid any glitches that could affect your offerings.

The top causes of downtime:

Human Error

An obvious yet very common cause of downtime is human error. As a race, we’re clumsy, and we’re absent minded. Sadly, this is no excuse when it comes to business. Everyone has been guilty of deleting the wrong file or e-mail at some point, but we’re only human right?

It is difficult when it comes to ‘human error’ scenarios because there are absolutely no warning signs. You don’t just walk into work one day and think:

 You know what? Today I’m going to spill a pint of water on my laptop that coincidentally holds the one and only copy of a PowerPoint I’m presenting that same afternoon.

It doesn’t work like that.

Human error is unfortunately an unstoppable form of downtime and one of the most popular. So, backing up your data is one of the most important things you can do to minimise or eliminate the effects of unexpected downtime.

Hardware Failure

When technology breaks, your data is put at risk. Hardware damage and system malfunction are a top cause of downtime. Unfortunately, everything has a shelf life, but the important thing to remember to do is back up your data so if your hardware does break or reach the end of its shelf life, your files and data are still accessible.


Software Failure

Many variables can contribute to software failure on a server. There could be an issue with the operating system or a bug on the server software itself due to patches not being tested properly.

Operating systems that have been plodding along for some time also contribute to software failure. Also, not forgetting the mass amounts of viruses and malware that can have a huge affect on the way software works on a device.

Natural Disasters

Natural disaster is also a big cause of downtime. They happen out of the blue with no real warning signs so preparing is fundamental.

Natural disasters come in many forms. The most popular include:

– Fire

– Flood

– Hurricanes

– Earthquakes

The things listed above are often unavoidable. But there are a few things you should be doing to prepare for them from an IT point of view.

– Backup your data in the cloud

– Protect your physical infrastructure

– Create your very own disaster recovery plan.

Phone showing a robot calling and phone number underneath

If you’ve not planned for a disaster yet or if you have no measures in place for backing up your data then it’s time to take action now.

PCS offer a range of services that can help make your business prepare for when things go wrong. If you’d like to find out more then get in touch with a member of the team by phone or e-mail.

Meet The Author

Name: Samantha Geary
Employment Start Date: August 2017
Job Title: Marketing Executive
Years in Marketing: 3

Check out Sam on Social Media:

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