Much of what we think we know about the impact of downtime on our businesses is false. Research indicates that it is more costly and more likely than you might expect.
Technology and data continue to accelerate in importance to businesses. As a result, fast reliable access to that information is crucial. It sets us apart from our competitors.
At the same time customer expectations are growing, but their patience is greatly reduced.
It is obvious that businesses today need to take a long hard look at how they will continue to operate when access to their data is disrupted.
What Causes Downtime?
As it turns out, businesses should be more wary of their own employees than of natural disasters. Although theft, floods and fires do their fair share of damage, research shows that natural disasters account for just 10 percent of downtime. The leading culprits are network outages, human errors and server failures.
When it comes to ensuring your business continues to operate in the event of a disaster you shouldn’t simply consider the risk from natural causes to be unlikely and therefore put off planning to protect yourself. It’s far more likely that equipment will malfunction, or that one of your staff will delete an important document than anything Mother Nature could throw at you.
What Does Downtime Cost?
Downtime as a result of technology problems is costly. The exact cost depends on company size according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Small companies lose approximately $8581 (£5,600) per hour.
Although their sample is small and may not be particularly representative of the types of customer that Evolve specialise in (between 10 and 75 staff members) it does serve as a reminder that downtime is not cheap. If you want to get a more specific figure for the cost of downtime to your business you can use the following online calculator – http://tools.datto.com/rto/.
What Happens When Disaster Strikes?
According to IDC, it takes, on average, seven hours to resume normal operations after a data loss incident, with 18 percent of IT managers saying that it takes 11 to 24 hours, or even longer. Based on our experience I would add that these timescales are probably likely when you are recovering moderate amounts of data from a reliable backup source.
When the downtime is the result of a more complex or significant problem – such as a email server recovery, natural disaster, theft, server failure, ransomware data encryption or massive data deletion – we have experienced far longer times to resume normal operations even though backups are reliable and available – from 24 hours up to 1 week.
With downtime more disruptive than ever you need to re-consider how technology problems could affect your business.
Start by looking at the key elements of your system and ask how you would recover if each one failed.
- Ask your broadband supplier if they have more robust options. It may cost more but these days your connection is your lifeblood. Allocate it more importance and budget accordingly.
- Find out what each of your servers does. Ensure they all have hardware warranty cover. Consider replacing your tape or cloud backup with a business continuity solution – these turn recovery times from days into minutes.
- List all your vital applications and work out a detailed plan to recover them. Think about license keys, access to software media, current support from the vendor, recovering and importing data
- Make sure your IT provider is updating all your devices, checking your security software, keeping your backups running and available in an emergency
 “Downtime and Data Loss: How Much Can You Afford?” Aberdeen Group
 “Wanted: Better Backup,” IDG Research Services