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The Cost of IT Downtime: What You Need To Know

Is your business constantly halting production to deal with technical issues? Do customers often complain that your website is down again? When it comes to running a business, IT downtime can cause a number of problems that can hurt your business in the long run. Read along to find out more about how downtime can affect your business—and how you can prevent it.

What Is Downtime?

Downtime refers to when a device or IT system is unavailable, not operational, or offline. While every business can expect to experience some downtime now and then, it can be frustrating to have your technical systems out of use, especially if they go down on a regular basis.

Downtime can be caused by software or hardware malfunctions, human error, power outages, or even cybersecurity threats. Regardless of the cause, it can hurt your business in a number of ways.

How Does Downtime Affect My Business?

Lost Revenue

When your IT systems go down, your business won’t be able to function properly, making it difficult to turn a profit. Instead of working and earning money for your business, you’ll find yourself waiting for your network to come back online. As you sit in agonizing limbo, your business expenses will continue to accrue, and you’ll find yourself falling deeper into a hole.

Because of this, IT downtime can be one of the most costly problems for businesses. The Ponemon Institute, which performs empirical research and studies on IT infrastructure, estimates that the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. This means that a single hour of downtime can cost around $336,000. And this downtime calculation doesn’t include the repair costs, either; it relates only to how much money your business is losing while its IT systems are down.

In addition, the cost of IT downtime by industry will vary. For example, if you run an accounting firm, you can expect that the cost of IT downtime is greater than that of a landscaping business. While both businesses require a number of technical systems to remain online, one clearly requires more computing power in order to stay viable. Your landscapers can continue to work when their network is down, but your accountants won’t be able to.

The cost of downtime for small businesses can be even more costly. With a smaller scale and slimmer margins—meaning less of a buffer—these businesses can be hurt more so than large enterprises when faced with downtime.

Lost Productivity

When your IT infrastructure goes down and you can’t work, your productivity grinds to a halt. This means that the cost of IT downtime extends past the financial realm. Until your system comes back online, your employees won’t be able to remain focused. When they are finally able to do so, their level of attention will be diminished.

According to a study by the University of California-Irvine, on average, it takes an employee 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from a distraction. So, when a system goes down, you’re not only losing precious time and money, you’re losing your employees’ attention, too. If multiple periods of downtime occur throughout the week, you’ll literally be losing hours of working time.

Reputational Damage

If your company deals with unplanned downtime frequently, it can negatively affect how people think about your business. When people visit your website, for example, they expect it to be up and running, not down or under construction. Over time, this can erode public trust in your company. Most people prefer to work with an organization that is running efficiently, as opposed to one that struggles to maintain its infrastructure. A poor public image can negatively impact your future business opportunities, as potential customers will likely opt for someone else to fill the needs your infrastructure can’t provide.

Stunted Business Growth

Another hidden cost of IT downtime is stunted business growth. If you’re constantly dealing with unplanned downtime, you won’t be able to focus your attention on your business. This prevents you from spending time innovating or improving how your business functions. If you’re constantly putting out fires, it might be more beneficial to stop and fully address the problem, instead of continually putting downtime issues on the back burner.

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Reducing the Cost of IT Downtime

Contingency Plan

One way to reduce the cost of IT downtime is to develop a contingency plan before any unplanned downtime occurs. For example, you can predetermine which systems or pieces of equipment should be prioritized during system reboots, repairs, or disaster recovery.

You should also have a detailed plan including how you’ll address customers about the issue, how you’ll actually start fixing the problem, and what your employees should do in the meantime. With a contingency plan in place, you’ll be able to resolve system downtime relatively quickly, which will help you maintain your public image, return to a state of productivity, and keep your bottom line intact.

Planned Downtime

Another way to reduce the cost of IT downtime is to plan around it. Whether you like it or not, downtime is going to happen. No piece of equipment or IT system is going to run perfectly all the time, so it’s best to just account for that.

Much like changing the oil in your car, you can schedule maintenance on your IT systems. This lets you plan around downtime rather than react to it. For example, you can plan to have an IT professional upgrade or repair your system after business hours, reducing the possibility of the system going down unexpectedly. This type of regular preventative maintenance can help keep your IT infrastructure running smoothly and efficiently, all while reducing the cost of IT downtime.

Plan Ahead with Arizona Computer Guru

Professional IT services can prevent downtime by providing real-time monitoring, maintenance, and repairs for your business. With a professional IT service, you can plan and schedule your downtime in advance and respond positively when confronted with unexpected downtime. At Arizona Computer Guru, we’ll help keep your business online with our team of experienced, committed individuals. Contact us today to reduce downtime and keep your technical systems running smoothly.

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