3 Leading Causes of IT Downtime

When your company relies on technology, any unplanned IT downtime could result in a loss of revenue. According to ITIC’s 2017 Reliability and Hourly Cost of Downtime Trends Survey, over 98% of companies with more than 1,000 employees say that on average, a single hour of IT downtime costs them over $100,000.

For companies of all sizes, IT downtime can also mean a decrease in productivity and negative customer experience, both of which impact the bottom line. To prevent downtime, it’s important to understand the root causes and properly safeguard your organization.

Based on our experience, the following are the three most common unplanned downtime causes:

1. Cybersecurity Threats

The same ITIC survey found human error and security to be the top two causes of IT downtime. Combined, these two issues create what we believe to be the number-one cause of IT downtime –cybersecurity threats.

Cybersecurity may begin with putting in place measures like spam filters, fraud detection software, multi-factor authentication and file encryption. But human error is often the leading cause of data breaches. Without proper employee training, businesses are at risk of attack. In order to prevent this, it’s important that businesses protect themselves from cyberattacks.

2. Power or Internet Outages

A less preventable cause of IT downtime is power or internet outages due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. While these outages are unexpected, businesses can prepare for them to help reduce the impact on the organization.

For large companies, a back-up generator may be a good solution. For small businesses, off-site server hosting or cloud-based hosting can also mitigate losses during an outage. In addition, redundancies in internet connections may be worth exploring. For companies with zero tolerance for outages, contracting with both a fiber-optic internet service (FiOS) provider and cable internet provider will provide a safeguard should one provider go down.

3. Hardware Failure

Rounding out the top three unplanned downtime causes is network or server hardware failure. When the servers that host your data, applications and resources fail, it can bring operations to a halt. Typically, the cause of failure is hardware that needs to be replaced or repaired. This can take several hours or days, depending on your provider and service level agreement.

To mitigate the risk of downtime due to failing hardware, your business should have certain redundancies in place. We recommend duplicating hardware such as networks, firewalls, routers and switches. In the event that your hardware fails, the fail-over device can step in, reducing downtime. We also recommend regularly assessing devices and replacing them before they fail.

Concerned about how unplanned IT downtime will affect your business? Atlas Professional Services is skilled at reviewing current IT infrastructure and providing recommendations on cybersecurity, data backup and recovery, and server and network support. Contact us to learn more.
Adam Gass headshot