Our previous article discussed cost being a significant IT challenge for companies to face, and how the challenge can be overcome.
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This article discusses an issue that every business regardless of size will face at some point – network outages and system failures. Every business area - Finance, Marketing, Operations and HR, to name a few - all depend on IT systems for optimal business performance. A network failure or IT system error can significantly diminish a business’ ability to effectively deliver services to their customers and in turn negatively impact the business’ ability to generate consistent revenue.
Many SMB owners think IT downtime only affects productivity and revenue. However, there is a lot more at stake in the event of an outage. Loss of brand integrity and customer trust are also key losses that can result from an outage. Let’s consider four areas in which downtime can impact and really cost your business.
Recovery Costs – These costs are related to resolution of the outage. This might include hourly charges paid to an IT specialist to restore your systems, as well as hardware or software purchases that may be required. This may even include costs incurred to implement temporary solutions such as failover of systems to secondary systems or sites.
Employee Costs – This will include the hourly estimated costs of all employees affected by the downtime and can be calculated as the product of the employee’s hourly rate and the period of downtime.
Damage to Brand Reputation – This is the externally visible impact of an outage. It can manifest in the form of unhappy clients, loss of trust in brand, or loss of present or future opportunities.
SLA Costs – This would include costs required to compensate clients for the inconveniences caused due to the downtime.
These costs associated with downtime are often hidden and can accrue into a considerably large amount. Industry experts have provided general figures for the cost of IT downtime. According to Gartner, IT-related downtime costs are estimated at $5,600 per minute or over $300,000 per hour. A natural disaster,technical snag, or power outage can thus cause significant losses to a business, and for SMBs, such outages can be fatal.
Mitigating the threat of downtime due to outages should therefore be one of your business’ top priorities. For this, it would be worth considering whether a Managed Services Provider (MSP) can act as an effective partner for your business. MSPs can provide proactive 24/7 monitoring of IT systems enabling them to discover and often fix the problem before a critical outage occurs. They are also able to make sure that aspects such as backups, security patching of systems are always up to date. This level of focus and diligent effort decreases the chances that you will face an IT outage. An MSP will partner with you to learn how your business operates, analyse your existing system, determine your business continuity needs, and create a customized plan to ensure maximum uptime.
If you do not have the expertise or time needed to manage your IT infrastructure, the flat fee you pay an MSP today to proactively manage your systems is far lower than the costs you will face from your next critical outage tomorrow.