5 Ways Downtime Costs Mount Up & 3 Ways to Reduce Them

Picture your company’s offices filled with your employees. Now picture those employees sitting at their desks doing nothing or standing around, idly chatting.

Your systems are down and you don’t have in-house IT support or resources. You’re stuck trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it as soon as possible, but this problem is outside of your wheelhouse.

Every minute your systems stay down costs you up to $427 per minute. The average incident lasts nearly 90 minutes, so the financial costs add up quickly.

Here’s a look at five ways outages cost you, and three ways you can reduce outages to bring the costs down.

IT Downtime = Productivity & Employee Costs

During an IT outage, employees aren’t able to get work done. Productivity measures close to zero for the duration of the outage. Once the outage is over, employees have to work hard to catch up. Morale suffers throughout the company as project deadlines get disrupted.

The productivity impact extends even after the outage is resolved. If work was done manually while systems were down, all that data needs to be entered into the system once it’s back up. Your limited IT support resources, if you have any available at all, get dedicated to the post-incident investigation and implementing corrective measures.

IT Downtime = Business & Customer Costs

The most direct costs of an outage come from lost business. When externally facing applications go down, customers lose a key means of interacting with the business. For companies that rely heavily on their website to take orders, or which offer software-as-a-service, downtime means that customers can’t access the business. Some customers may come back later, but others will simply go elsewhere.

When internal applications go down, business processes come to a halt. Revenue may be lost if the sales team can’t look up information they need to close a deal. Existing customers may be frustrated when the support team is unable to look up their information to answer questions and resolve problems.

IT Downtime = Reputation Costs

Even worse, when customers are frustrated by a company’s computers going down, they share their feelings on social media. Your company’s reputation can take a big hit, and you can lose business from customers’ friends, family, and colleagues who decide not to risk working with you.

You have to generate 12 positive experiences to compensate for one negative customer experience, according to Helpscout. During your IT outage, you don’t have the time to fix your systems and address customer complaints, so a lack of communication leads to long term consequences for your prospective and current customer base. New customers turn tail and go to other companies, while loyal customers end up churning.

Your reputation will also take a hit if your marketing makes any guarantees about delivery or reliability. You might need to spend on overtime or rush shipping in orders to meet commitments and minimize the impact or visibility of the problem to your customers.

IT Downtime = Legal Costs

Systems downtime can have legal or compliance impacts as well. If you work in an industry that requires preserving all records, lost data can mean failing an audit and paying penalties.

For example, healthcare provider data falls under HIPAA regulations, which has data retention requirements. HIPAA fines cost up to $50,000 per record and reach a maximum annual limit of $1.5 million. Your business runs the risk of bankruptcy and closure from large fines. Contracts with customers may impose penalties if you’re unable to meet contract terms due to downtime.

IT Downtime = Technology Costs

You don’t have many IT support resources in-house, if any. You need to bring in help on an emergency basis or spend far too much time trying to figure out the problem yourself. If you need to bring in replacement hardware or new equipment to address the issue, you have to go with the option that gets you online the fastest. You think in the short-term, not the long-term, so infrastructure additions may cause their own problems down the road.

Protect Yourself from the Costs of Downtime

Some downtime is unavoidable; system maintenance needs to happen. But that planned downtime can be scheduled in advance when you bring a managed service provider in for help.

It’s the unplanned downtime that’s most disruptive. Almost every company has an unplanned outage at least once every two years. Avoiding outages entirely is almost impossible; in the real world, sometimes things just go wrong. That doesn’t mean an outage needs to be an expensive disaster, however. There are things you can do to reduce the risks and to help your company function better when an outage occurs:

  • Implement backup procedures: Find a user-friendly backup solution capable of keeping your data safe. Create a schedule and test the backup restoration feature so you’re ready to restore vital information in an emergency.
  • Put security systems and policies in place: Your infrastructure’s vulnerability increases when you experience downtime. Protect your business against common cyber threats with comprehensive security systems and policies.
  • Get skilled help from a managed IT services provider: Working with a managed services provider means having an experienced IT team overseeing your systems. Since configuration errors are among the most common causes of IT downtime, a managed services team that specializes in configuring and supporting your systems can ensure that changes are made appropriately and correctly, without risk to your operations.

For managed IT support in Oklahoma City, turn to Dobson Technologies. Get started today and contact us to schedule a meeting for business IT support services that will keep your systems running and reduce the risks and costs of unplanned downtime.