If your IT systems are down, chances are, so is your business. Downtime can be costly for businesses of all sizes, and it’s often difficult to recover from it. As a business owner in Charlotte, you need to take steps to prevent system downtime to keep your business running smoothly and avoid costly disruptions. In this article, we will discuss the causes and effects of IT downtime, as well as the different ways to prevent it.
The causes of downtime
There are two categories of downtime events: planned and unplanned.
Planned downtime is usually scheduled to perform system maintenance or upgrades, while unplanned downtime is caused by unexpected events like power outages, hardware failures, or software glitches.
Unplanned outages can result in lost productivity and revenue. The oft-cited study by Gartner states that the typical cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute or around $300,000 for an hour of a system outage. The cost of downtime varies per business, but smaller and medium-sized businesses tend to pay less for downtime than bigger companies do.
While it’s not possible to completely eliminate all downtime, there are steps you can take to minimize its occurrence and its effects on your business.
How to minimize system downtime
Follow these steps to prevent extended periods of inactivity and to reduce the fallout from downtime.
Invest in the cloud
By storing data and running applications on remote servers, businesses can keep their systems up and running even in the event of a power outage or other local disasters. Cloud providers also offer built-in redundancy and failover capabilities that can help minimize downtime in the event of an unexpected outage.
However, you still have to properly plan your system’s architecture and use the right cloud components that will ensure your company doesn’t suffer the devastating effects of downtime. But remember that even the most reliable cloud providers sometimes have to deal with a temporary loss of service, too.
That said, if you do invest in cloud technology, you will be better prepared in keeping your business running smoothly when faced with unplanned disruptions.
Have a solid backup and a disaster recovery plan
By having backups of your data and applications, you can quickly get your systems up and running in the event of an outage. A well-designed disaster recovery plan will help ensure that your business can continue to operate even in the face of major disruptions. Although backups can’t keep a disaster from occurring, they will make it easier and faster to recover from one.
Plan for maintenance periods
You can minimize a planned downtime’s impact by scheduling it during low-traffic periods. For example, if you know that your website gets less traffic at around 12 midnight, you can schedule maintenance for that time so that it doesn’t affect your daytime operations.
You should also have a plan for dealing with unexpected downtime. By having a team in place to quickly address problems, you can minimize the amount of time your systems are down.
Monitor your systems
By keeping an eye on your system’s performance, you can spot issues early and take steps to prevent them from causing disruptions. In addition, monitoring can help you determine the root cause of an outage after it occurs. This information can be used to prevent similar outages in the future.
If you operate a small business in Charlotte, you may not have the time to regularly monitor your systems due to a lack of time or manpower. Fortunately, you can get managed IT services in Charlotte from numerous reliable providers in the city.
Calculate the cost of downtime for your business
The cost of downtime varies per business, but there are some general formulas that can be used to calculate it. To get an accurate estimate, you’ll need to know the following:
- The hourly rate of your employees
- The number of employees affected by the outage
- The length of the outage
With this information, you can use the following formula to calculate the cost of downtime for your business:
(Hourly rate of employees x Number of employees affected) x Length of outage = Cost of downtime
Inspect physical and digital facilities
By regularly inspecting both your physical and digital facilities, you can identify potential problems early, which can be crucial in avoiding extended periods of downtime.
For instance, if you know that a particular server is getting old and is likely to fail soon, you can replace it before it causes an outage. Similarly, if you spot a problem with your network infrastructure, you can take steps to fix it before it leads to an interruption in service.