Research shows North American businesses lose up to $700 billion each year to unscheduled downtime. This indicates network interruptions, server outages and application problems caused by degradation are both inconvenient and frequently result in lost productivity and revenue.
It’s a challenge that’s easily resolved with regular maintenance and a robust downtime strategy, but for many companies having full-time employees to perform these tasks isn’t practical. One solution is managed IT services, which can implement remote monitoring and planned downtimes that get the job done affordably.
Unscheduled Outages Causes and Risks
Having Internet go out for an hour might not sound like a crisis, but the ripple effect can be huge. Companies that migrated their telephone system to voice-over-IP (VOIP) to enjoy the lower costs of data-based calls discover that a hiccup in their Internet creates a simultaneous telephone service outage. Organizations using cloud storage suddenly find they lose access to data, and eCommerce companies with online sales applications are unable to write new business.
How to Reduce Unplanned Downtime
According to the IHS report, 40% of all reported IT downtime is attributable to hardware failures and other equipment problems. Human errors by internal staff make up 25%, and system security attacks comprise 10%.
Since the largest single component is equipment-based, reduce unscheduled downtime by taking proactive measures to prevent it. Some ways to do this are:
- Implement network monitoring. An early warning system is one of the most popular strategies for getting ahead of problems, with 64% of respondents to the IHS study indicating they are following this outsourced strategy.
- Build more redundancy into your networks. This might sound, well – redundant and counter-productive, but it’s less costly than downtime. The approach can also resolve on-site equipment challenges and problems with hosting service providers.
- Keep spare parts available. As your systems age, you’ll need spares that are difficult to obtain. This can cause significant delays while you wait for a special order or manufacturing of a critical part. For companies with a wide variety of equipment to support, using remotely-managed IT services enables you to take advantage of economies of scale in purchasing.
- Develop a strategy for regular, scheduled downtime, during which IT equipment can be inspected, serviced and repaired. Test all emergency protocols, review the quality of backups, and practice running restores. Even if you lose all data and functionality, you can depend on restoring from a backup.
- Check your physical surroundings. The most competent managed IT services provider has no control over water damage, fire, clumsy employees or furry critters chewing through the cables. Perform weekly inspections to determine the premises are in good condition. Check for obvious dangers such as loose cabling, air flow blockages, structural damage to equipment, or facility challenges like overheated server rooms that could represent a risk to your hardware.
The main cost of downtime is the loss of income and customer dissatisfaction. Avoid this with a nominal investment in the management of your systems, and you’ll enjoy an