It often seems as though IT issues make the news every day, with one major corporation after another falling victim to the whims of hackers or the unexpected hassle of outages. These issues compromise millions of customers and clients while also prompting millions – or more – in losses for affected companies. British Airways, for example, was forced to fork over a whopping $68 million in passenger reimbursements following a devastating data center outage. This is just one of several examples of companies falling victim to IT concerns. These issues can often be avoided – but when they’re not, businesses may be left struggling to stay afloat.
Large corporations are by no means alone in their fight to remain on top of IT concerns. Small businesses may be even more vulnerable, as many lack the resources necessary to maintain robust in-house IT departments. Often, IT concerns are left to employees who are ill-equipped with the skills or knowledge needed to navigate complicated solutions. In such situations, IT outsourcing may be the best possible approach to handling both short-term outages and long-term maintenance. Below, we examine the issues problematic IT can cause, as well as potential solutions.
The Devastation of Downtime
Downtime can be devastating. Even a minute of inaccessibility can prompt considerable long-term damage. Estimates vary based on company size and industry, but experts at the International Data Corporation (IDC) believe that downtime costs small businesses up to $427 per minute. This could translate to hundreds of thousands in losses for a single adverse event – enough to put many small businesses under. Unfortunately, downtime is far from a rarity. IDC study results indicate that as many as 80 percent of small businesses have suffered IT incidents leading to downtime at some point.
The losses outlined above can derive from several factors. Top concerns include employee productivity and customer or client relationships. Significant interplay can also occur between these elements. For example, employees who are unable to access critical data may be entirely incapable of completing even the simplest of daily tasks. As a result, their relationships with clients may suffer. Employee morale can also take a huge hit amid IT issues, leading to huge productivity losses across the board.
On a broader scale, downtime can cause irreversible harm to a company’s hard-fought reputation. It takes years to build credibility in the competitive world of small business, but all that effort can be reversed in a moment if critical IT systems go down. As customers begin to suffer the effects of downtime, their confidence may suffer. They may even start to set their sights on competitors capable of offering more reliable service.
Preventing and Addressing Downtime
Given the potential for reduced productivity and reputational damage, it’s only understandable that today’s small businesses are desperate to avoid downtime. Thankfully, a variety of best practices can be employed to keep top risks at bay. First, however, it is important to understand the source of most incidents – and no, it’s not technological failure. Rather, downtime is most likely to result from poor training or planning. In other words, a significant share of IT outages are 100 percent preventable.
Key tactics for avoiding outage-associated downtime include:
- Regular threat assessment, such as business IT security audits.
- Implementing checkpoints for operation process validation.
- Conducting thorough reviews of IT system configuration.
- Investing in routine training to reduce the potential for human error.
Unfortunately, prevention alone will not cut it. Even the most conscientious businesses can suffer unexpected catastrophes, some of which may lie entirely outside of their control. When such circumstances arise, it’s important to have a backup plan in place. While downtime is not always preventable, it can be addressed quickly to ensure minimal damage. Remember, each additional minute of downtime adds up; issues resolved in a few minutes will not prove nearly as devastating as those that linger for hours.
Preparation for prompt recovery should begin with the implementation of a reliable plan. If disaster strikes, what will you and your employees do to ensure that critical IT systems are up and running in as little time as possible? Outline a variety of potential scenarios to ensure that all problems and solutions are addressed.
Unfortunately, planning alone is not likely to improve downtime response. Plans should be rehearsed on occasion to ensure that they’re effective. Regular testing can help you determine how best to prepare for unexpected circumstances. These tests will reveal weaknesses inherent within your IT system, as well as opportunities for further employee training.
Ultimately, a proactive approach is key to minimizing the devastation of downtime. The potential for problems should be expected – but never accepted. A variety of steps can be taken to ensure that your organization is fully prepared to function in the event of a disaster. What’s more, the right approach could reduce the potential for such mishaps occurring in the first place. IT infrastructure management services and data protection make it all possible. Don’t hesitate to take the necessary steps now to avert future crises.
Minimize the Potential for Downtime with Help from NerdsToGo
On the hunt for money-saving IT solutions in Bonita Springs & Naples? The team at NerdsToGo is happy to help. We’ve long held an excellent reputation as a top IT company in Bonita Springs & Naples. Whether you need a business IT security audit or long-term IT infrastructure solutions, we’re determined to provide the strategic service you require. Reach out at your earliest convenience to learn more about our vast range of small business services.