Your business should never have to be bogged down with system downtime. It’s stressful for you and your employees, and disruptive for your clients and users.
Lucky for you, there are providers specifically devoted to reducing downtime by administering IT services like real-time monitoring, disaster recovery planning, cybersecurity, cloud solutions, and more. We’ll cover them in more detail in this blog post.
For starters, what does system downtime mean?
System downtime (or an outage) refers to a period of time when any of your systems (I.T. or otherwise) are not performing their primary tasks.
Most people recognize an outage when they load a website and are greeted with some form of error with a 500 HTTP code and a kitschy graphic in place of the webpage they were looking for.
However, system downtime can also refer to things like a point-of-sale system not registering sales or a client login portal being locked down for ransom by cyberattackers.
Regardless of which system is failing, the problem remains the same: it’s frustrating your clients and costing you business.
What’s the average cost of system downtime?
System downtime can last anywhere between minutes and days depending on the issue and responsiveness of your IT team, and the costs of lengthy downtime affect both profit and productivity.
Network World reports the average cost of downtime for businesses can hit about $42,000 per hour depending on the industry. If you apply this rate to the yearly average most businesses experience in downtime (~87 hours), your total losses could hit $3.6M in one year.
The best way the alleviate the costs associated with downtime (i.e. loss of business and additional labour to fix the system issues) is to have a solid IT team in place.
Many businesses have small IT departments that are often spread thin and over-worked, which is why outsourcing to a managed IT service provider (MSP) has become a popular solution.
Which managed IT services help reduce downtime?
Having an internal or external team dedicated to mitigating the fallout of a system outage can help reduce downtime from hours (or full workdays) to minutes.
Downtime prevention and recovery can be typically be accomplished with five IT services, which a managed service partner can provide to either support your internal team or to manage all of your IT needs entirely.
These IT services include:
- 24/7 network monitoring
- Disaster recovery planning
- Preventative maintenance
- Cybersecurity systems
- Backup & cloud hosting
24/7 network monitoring
Any IT service provider worth their salt will offer some form of network monitoring to ensure your server connections are functional and secure.
To get the most out of your network monitoring service, you should find a provider who will track your site, equipment, and users in real-time 24/7. If your network data is constantly tracked, the chances of missing any red flags are greatly reduced.
Maintaining a detailed data record partnered with regular assessments and diagnostics can also grant your IT provider an almost clairvoyant quality, where they can predict ahead of time if any issues could disrupt your connections or service.
We can’t speak about clairvoyance and planning ahead without discussing disaster recovery plans.
Natural disasters and data breaches can cost your company thousands in lost business and hours—especially if your time is being spent scrambling to diagnose the issue and getting your connections back up and running. The best way to avoid this worst-case scenario is to plan, plan, plan.
A good IT provider will help you build a disaster recovery plan customized to your business’s unique needs, and they’ll bolster your plan with their own thorough risk analysis and extensive disaster recovery experience. Think of it like a cushion for your business that can soften the blow before, during, and after any IT disaster.
By now you may have sensed a theme of preventative IT medicine forming. The cliché, “the best defense is a good offense” is very appropriate here as proactive, preventative measures tend to reinforce even the toughest IT security systems.
Your managed IT provider should perform regular maintenance on your servers or devices. This maintenance should include implementation of any software updates and security patches to keep you ahead of any potential equipment breakdowns or cyberattackers who make easy pickings of outdated software.
Cyberattackers are sophisticated and organized, and they can exploit virtually any weakness in your security to breach your data or shut down your business entirely. It’s because of the sophistication of cyberthreats that a holistic, all-encompassing cybersecurity plan is such a necessity to any business with a digital footprint.
A solid IT support team will:
- Offer advanced email filtering to keep your devices clear of malware, ransomware, and other viruses that might spam your inbox;
- Install and maintain antivirus software on all devices;
- Research and stay ahead of any potential threats to your system security;
- And leverage robust client support and 24/7 monitoring so no threats go unanswered.
With these tactics in your arsenal, the chances of security breaches putting your servers (and business) out of commission for any length of time is greatly reduced.
Backup and cloud hosting
The final prong for eroding a mountain of system downtime is to implement a cloud solution to back up and secure your data.
Storing your most crucial files (like client information, financial records, etc.) in a secure cloud will ensure your data is locked down and invulnerable to cyberthreats and will also keep a backup of all your files.
A cloud-based solution can save you from any data recovery headaches caused by unplanned downtime.
Consider partnering with a managed IT service provider
The service provider you choose to support your IT needs should champion expert, reliable customer service and have proven experience offering holistic solutions for all of your downtime prevention needs.