The Cost of Downtime

Building resilient IT systems that minimize downtime is the name of the game.  Why?  Because the cost of downtime can be staggering.

Recent Examples

March 2015, a 12-hour Apple store outage cost the company $25 million.

August 2016, a five-hour power outage in an operation center caused 2,000 cancelled flights and an estimated loss of $150 million for Delta Airlines.

March 2019, a 14-hour outage cost facebook an estimated $90 million.

Downtime costs small businesses a lot too.  A recent study showed that on average small businesses lose between $137 and $427 dollars per MINUTE.  To put that in perspective, if you were to lose an entire 8-hour day’s productivity it would cost your business $65,760 using the lowest end of those numbers.

Calculate Your Cost

One tool that has been great to help illustrate the cost of downtime to the business owners we consult with actually taking the time to do the math.  Most businesses can do this, at least a rough calculation.  It helps you to know what’s at risk and make thoughtful decisions about how much you should be investing in your IT systems and backups that prevent downtime.

There are several calculators out there, but this one from Datto is one of our favorite.  It’s a good one because it takes into account hard costs such as number of employees, average salary, employee overhead, and annual revenue.  It also asks smart questions like how long can your business survive without access to IT systems, and how many hours of work you are willing to lose/repeat.

This gets you in the right frame of mind for a discussion of the cost of downtime.  It’s lost productivity, but it’s also lost revenue, lost opportunities, lost trust, and potential damage to your reputation.

Take a minute and plug in your businesses numbers.  You’ll be surprised how expensive downtime can be.

Remote Work

With COVID-19 making working from home essential for most businesses the cost of downtime may be higher than ever.  Many businesses use VPN, Terminal Servers, or hosted applications to allow their employees to connect and work from home.

If those systems go down, it may be even more damaging to productivity than it would if they were in the office.  Many of these systems are the lifeblood of remote workings, and without that connectivity they’re stuck.  If you were worried about how productive your employees would be working from home to start with, imagine if the systems they need to access to do their work aren’t available.

Businesses need to evaluate their solutions for remote work and ensure that they have the proper redundancy built into them.  Have you adjusted your backups to capture where data is being saved now that folks have changed their work habits?  If that firewall crashes, or the terminal server goes down, what is your backup plan?  How quickly could you get your remote workers back up and working?

Make a Plan for Disaster Recovery

Having a disaster recovery plan in place for your business that you’re confident in is the solution to downtime.  Take the time to calculate the cost of downtime.  Look at your current plan.  How quickly could you be functional again?  How much work would be lost?  Are you comfortable with the answers?

Most businesses would say no.  They don’t have the plan in place that they need.  There isn’t a way to spin up those servers, or replace that firewall quickly.  They would struggle if their hosted applications went down and stopped working.

Make a plan.  Consider all the costs.  Examine the necessary systems you have and how they function.  Do you have a terminal server, VPN or other solutions for remote work?  Do your users need access to simple data, or do they need applications?  Are those applications database driven?  What kind of bandwidth do you have at the site those resources are housed?

Are those applications all critical for you to be able to work?  How much data are we talking about?  What is the current backup solution?  How quickly would you be back up if something happened, and with how much data loss?

Call an Expert

There are a lot of questions to be answered when developing a disaster recovery plan.  It may make sense for you to reach out to a qualified IT expert that can help you evaluate your options and select the best solution for your situation.

i.t.NOW offers solutions where we can spin up a down server from a backup server in a matter of minutes.  This gives you the ability to be back online quickly, and at a much lower cost.  There are a lot of in-depth questions to answer when creating a backup and disaster recovery solution.  We can help you make a plan that fits your business needs and budget while limiting your risk from downtime.  Call us today for a free evaluation.