The Cost of Downtime

What Can Downtime Actually Cost Your Business?

You cannot simply avoid Digital disruptions in today’s business world. Rising and ominous cybersecurity threats. Power outages. Software or hardware failures. World unrest. Unpredictable natural disasters and more. And that’s not counting disruptions caused by simple human error. You may not avoid digital disruption, but you can minimize the downtime it can bring to your business with careful strategy.

What is downtime?

Downtime is a period during which a system is unavailable or non-operational. With IT systems, downtime can be planned or unplanned. Planned downtime is intentional and meant to be a rejuvenating and constructive measure. It’s the necessary “system unavailable” while you perform routine maintenance. Unplanned downtime is time (and often money) lost to unforeseen circumstances.

Those unforeseen circumstances can have dire consequences for many small businesses that aren’t ready to play defense against downtime. According to a recent report, more than half of all cyberattacks are committed against small-to-midsized businesses; alarmingly 60% of them go out of business within six months of falling victim to a data breach or hack.

Determining the true cost on the impact of downtime

Several varying factors can influence the actual financial burden of IT downtime for a business. Monetary losses are determined by the combination of your company’s revenue, industries served, number of people (customers, employees, and more) affected, duration and scope of the outage, time of day, etc.

Once the issue causing downtime is solved, you may still have collateral damage to deal with. Why? In today’s digital economy, many of your relationships and transactions with fellow staff and customers revolve around data. Downtime-created frustration affects business for you and them. Extended or repeated bouts of downtime may prompt your customers to seek new relationships with companies they can always trust to be available when needed. While it’s unrealistic for a company to expect that IT downtime will never affect them, your clients will develop a perception of the frequency and severity of times when your business services are unavailable. Repeated bouts of downtime or poorly managed recoveries from downtime will likely lead to disenfranchised… and disappearing… customers.

Steps to minimize downtime

No business is immune to calamity from forces outside of its control. But with the proper preparation and expert perspectives on hand, you can shield your operations from disruption by unforeseen threats. deskside works to help your business prepare for the unexpected and unforeseen circumstances.

Every business owner should know how important it is to back up data and have a disaster recovery plan. While you know you should be backing up your data, you might not know that you have options for how you do it. Making a digital copy of the operating system, files, folders, programs, and settings on company computers is the most efficient way – and often the only way – to get up and running quickly after a major data loss.

Data Backup

The first method is file level backup, which allows you to save individual files and folders from your office computer to a remote location. You’ve probably used a consumer-level backup program to save files, such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. While file level backup is an acceptable solution for saving copies of individual files in a healthy system, significant problems could occur in the event of a disaster.

In a serious failure, restoring your system from a file level backup will likely take a long time because you would have to reconstruct everything from scratch. You would have to reinstall the operating system, software applications, and the software you used to backup your files. Only then could you begin restoring the files and folders themselves. However, because file level backup is a “selective” backup, You can only restore those files and folders you chose to backup. All other data would no longer be retrievable.

Image level backup is a more complete option for backing up data. Rather than copying individual files and folders, image level backup takes a snapshot of your entire operating system and all of its data. Your backup is saved in a single file (known as an image), which you can retrieve and restore if your practice suffers a significant data loss. Though this backup method requires more storage space, it’s a more efficient choice when the goal is to simply get back up and running as quickly as possible.

But file backups simply aren’t enough when the goal is to minimize the time and effects of unforeseen downtime.

deskside at Your Service

deskside’s Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery service combines proactive defense and a custom plan to return your business to ‘business as usual’ as swiftly as possible. This includes far more than just data backup and replication. A true continuity plan provides contingency and support for your entire network from hardware and software to connectivity and more.

As a Technology Success Partner (TSP), businesses often ask for our recommendation on whether to implement a disaster recovery plan or a business continuity plan. But what’s the difference between the two?

Disaster recovery refers to the way data, files, software, servers, and operating systems are restored following a damaging, downtime-causing event. In contrast, business continuity refers to how a business maintains operations during a time of technological malfunction or outage. In other words, a disaster recovery plan defines how a business should respond to a disaster. On the other hand, a business continuity plan dictates how a business can continue to operate throughout a disaster. For a business to adequately recover from unforeseen downtime, both need to be in place.

How much downtime can your company actually afford before data loss impacts your business? It’s probably far less than what you think. Deskside can help you determine a proactive plan to be ready for the unexpected.

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