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How Much Can IT Downtime Cost Your Business?

Whether your business involves dealing with suppliers, chasing leads, processing customer orders, or even just your day to day in-house communication; it's all heavily reliant on your IT network. What happens when that IT network fails? Your business has to deal with unscheduled downtime.

Investing in IT Support for your business and having proactive solutions in place, is a great way to ensure peace of mind for when unexpected IT issues occur in your business. But to understand why it makes such a good investment, you need to know what the true costs of unscheduled downtime actually are.

What Causes Unscheduled Downtime?

There can be a number of causes behind unscheduled IT downtime within your business. Whether it be network glitches, hardware failures, data breaches, a virus, some form of malware; or it could even just come down to human error.

Whatever the reason, unscheduled downtime means your network can be disturbed - your communication lines fall, your ability to handle and process customer orders goes, and your business can quickly begin to suffer. 

What Are the Consequences of This Downtime?

Unscheduled IT downtime can have a number of consequences for your business, depending on the nature of the cause and how long the downtime lasts. It's important to know that even a few minutes of unscheduled downtime can be enough to cause a negative effect on your business. These can include:

  1. Lost Business

When your communication channels are down, you're essentially no longer open for business. You can't process incoming leads, you can't handle customer enquiries, and you can't deal with any payments. A customer may have the patience for a few minutes, but for instance if their order doesn't seem to be going through, there’s the possibility that they may decide to take their business elsewhere; meaning a sale lost to a competitor.

A single sale might not seem like too much of a problem, but the issue can quickly become considerably worse than that, depending on the length of downtime your business experiences. The longer your business is offline, the more likely orders are going to be handed to your competitors.

  1. Damaged Productivity

With so much communication and workflow dependent on IT networks, it's little surprise that when those networks go down, productivity takes a considerable hit. It becomes difficult for employees and members of your team to complete their tasks when the ability to communicate is removed. Again, the longer the downtime lasts, the worse the problem gets.

There’s also more direct costs associated with this when you consider service provider fees. Just because your business was not able to make use of the service you're paying for during a period of downtime, doesn't mean you don't have to pay for it.

  1. Reputation Damage

It won't take long for your customers and trading partners to begin losing their patience if your period of downtime is either excessive or becoming a regular situation. Your trading partners have businesses to run themselves, and it won't take long before your period of downtime starts to cost them considerably too. Similarly, shoppers owe you no loyalty, and it will only take a few failed tries to purchase online before they go to a competitor.

This is bad enough, but if just a few disgruntled customers take to social media to vent their frustrations, your brand reputation can suffer considerable damage in minutes. Not only does this mean you lose many of your existing customers, but it also means you might find it harder to attract new ones.

Man Distressed at Laptop

How Can You Minimise IT Downtime?

It's important to know that every business must have IT downtime in order to run essential updates, system fixes, and other improvements. The issue is that you need to be able to control when this downtime occurs, so you can schedule it to have the least impact possible and can give customers appropriate advanced notice.

Investing in backup and disaster recovery services, is one way of helping to minimise unscheduled IT downtime. This means that in the event of an unexpected error, you maintain the ability to access any key data required to keep your business running while the issue is fixed.

Another essential step to avoiding unexpected business downtime is to ensure your security is up to standard. It's essential that you have appropriate antivirus software, and that they are up to date. Even more importantly, you and your employees need to understand the risks posed by viruses and how to both identify and avoid potential security risks before they become a more serious issue.

Keeping your system regularly updated and patched is key to preventing unscheduled IT downtime. With each new software update, stability is going to be improved, bugs are going to be fixed, and functionality is going to be increased. One of the most common causes of system crashes is outdated or incompatible software – making sure you're using the up to date recommended versions is key to maintaining business uptime.

Have A Plan of Action Ready

The biggest issue when dealing with unscheduled business downtime is a lack of preparation. The goal is that your business should minimise any IT downtime that you haven't planned; and if cost effective ideally remove.

But you need to know what to do if it does happen. This means developing a plan of action and creating the appropriate system restore points to regularly back up data. Getting in touch with a specialist can help you formulate and understand the perfect IT downtime plan of action.

Fingers on a Laptop

Contact an IT Specialist Today

The effects of unscheduled IT downtime can be considerable, which means it pays to invest in the services of a dedicated IT specialist, such as Tristar Tech Solutions. We can help you ensure your business IT network offers you the kind of reliability and consistency you need to make sure your business can grow. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.