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Downtime: How Much is it Really Costing You?

By: Total Computer Solutions

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When your website or network goes down, it is a inconvenience to you, your employees, and your customers.

IT downtime is a common problem and can affect every part of your company. IT downtime costs businesses an average of $1.55 million in a typical year. Why, exactly, is downtime such an expensive problem? 

  1. It annoys customers. A loyal customer not being able to get to your website once might not be a problem. However, even one outage that happens to coincide with a new customer's first visit can cost you that customer. Frequent or repeated downtime is likely to send customers elsewhere. If a customer has their email to you fail with a permanent error, they are unlikely to try again. Good, loyal customers may be the ones telling you about the downtime, but that does not mean they are happy about it.
  2. It damages your reputation. Annoyed customers complain. Sometimes they will go all over social media to do it. It might even be picked up by the media. A lengthy downtime makes you look bad, no matter what the cause. Short of a natural disaster, customers generally do not except excuses. Major outages can hang over you for months or even years. Many people still remember the British Airways crash that resulted in thousands of canceled flights right at Christmas. A small company might not have to worry about global reputation in the same way, but your reputation in your community can still suffer, costing you both new and existing customers.
  3. It wastes employee time. Most employees spend about 30 minutes a week just on fixing random PC problems. An unplanned reboot takes time out of an employee's day that they may or may not be able to use productively. Not all employees can continue to work without their computer, and they often end up waiting for it to be resolved. The average time it takes IT to resolve downtime is a little over three hours.
  4. It results in IT spending time on fixing downtime that they could be spending on optimizing and improving systems so that they are more efficient. Of course, downtime can also happen after an upgrade is installed, especially if IT is rushing to do it by a certain deadline.
  5. You may have to hire an outside person to fix the specific problem you are having, especially if you are a smaller company with little or no in-house IT. In general, it is a lot easier to prevent downtime than it is to fix it.

So, downtime costs are not limited to just the costs of fixing it, but also affect your reputation, your sales and your time. Because of this, it is vital for businesses to address the causes of downtime. For example, retail outlets most often experience problems on Black Friday and the following weekend or right before and after Christmas. This is caused by overload, which is one of the most common causes of downtime. The overload is often increased by "retry spikes," which is the traffic caused by people trying the site again to see if it is up yet. Ironically, this can keep it down.

Other examples can include poor coding, cybersecurity issues, hardware failures such as a hard drive dying, or natural disasters. The best way to deal with downtime is to have a solid plan to both reduce downtime and speed your recovery from it. Professionals best handle both of these things, and smaller companies benefit from outsourcing their IT to an experienced company which can handle the problem quickly.

If you need help with a plan to reduce downtime and recover from it faster, contact Total Computer Solutions today.

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