Information Technology

The Business Impact of Downtime and How to Minimize It

When you’re running a business, downtime can be costly. From lost productivity to missed opportunities, downtime has the potential to wreak havoc on your bottom line. But how much is too much? How do you know if your IT systems are causing problems or experiencing normal wear and tear? 

In 2020, 25% of firms interviewed worldwide by Statista reported their servers’ average hourly downtime cost to be between $301,000 and 400,000. If such downtime occurs in your office, what steps can you take to reduce your exposure to outage-related losses? This article will examine what downtime means for businesses, why it’s essential to protect against it, and what strategies exist to minimize its impact.

What Is Downtime?

Downtime is the time when a system is not functional. Various factors, including hardware failure, software failure, and human error, can cause it. Downtime can be disruptive to any business that relies on technology and can have severe consequences for your bottom line if you aren’t prepared for it.

For example, suppose you work in an office where everyone needs their computers daily. In that case, even an hour-long power outage can mean productivity loss for everyone involved and potentially lost revenue if people can’t finish their work on time because they had no computer access during this period.

A real-world example would be the recent downtime of Twitter in 2023. According to a Reuters article, Twitter faced a global IT outage in March 2023, the sixth outage for the firm, which impacted video and audio quality. It reportedly occurred due to a minor API change.

What Is the Business Impact of Downtime?

A business impact analysis is an excellent first step to determining the cost of downtime to your business. It can help you identify the most critical applications and systems and prioritize which systems need to be backed up first. For example, if an ERP system fails and takes down your operations for an extended period, it will be much more costly than if one of your web servers goes down for a few hours.

Downtime can significantly impact your bottom line. It can halt business operations, leading to a loss of productivity and revenue. According to a Forbes article, downtimes can cost industrial manufacturers an average of $50 billion annually. The article also mentions that downtimes can take up to 1-10% of productivity, whether planned or not.

Causes of Downtime

There are many causes of downtime, including hardware failures and software failures. A power outage or hardware failure may cause hardware failures. Software failures can be due to the system being overloaded with too many users or processes running simultaneously, or they could result from hackers who have penetrated your network security systems.

Other causes include human error and natural disasters. Human errors are preventable by training employees. However, natural causes are unpreventable. For example, when Covid-19 hit, most businesses working only through offices faced downtimes until they migrated to a remote workforce culture.

Strategies for Minimizing Downtime

You should have the right tools and plan to minimize downtime. Here are some steps to take:

Leverage Managed IT Services for Server Management

Managed IT services are a way to outsource your IT management. The global Managed IT services sector will reach USD 680.08 billion by 2030. Instead of hiring an entire team and managing them yourself, you can hire experts who do it for you. They’ll cover everything from upgrading hardware to monitoring server performance and security.

You get the benefits of having a fully staffed IT team without paying all those salaries yourself. You’ll be able to focus on running your business. At the same time, they take care of everything technical, installing new servers or upgrading old ones, keeping them running smoothly, monitoring data traffic so nothing gets clogged up, etc.

You can look for managed IT services to take up all the burden off your shoulders. When researching for a managed IT services provider, look for companies with good technology partners. Based on the technology partners, you can determine the service provider’s expertise.

For example, the list of partners on the Net Effect Technologies website includes Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Altigen, Zebra, Dell, Sentinel One, Citrix, etc. This means the company has staff that can help customers use these brands’ tools. The clients can therefore know what services they can expect. Similarly, you can look for the partners list on any company’s website before selecting a managed IT services provider.

Go Proactive

Proactive monitoring is the best way to ensure your systems run smoothly. You should monitor them regularly, whether you have an IT department or not. If you have an IT department, ensure they’re keeping track of all the critical data and using it in their decision-making process.

If something does happen, it will. You’ll want to be prepared for any eventuality by having a plan in place before the downtime occurs so that everyone knows what steps need to be taken and who needs to take them.

Create Data Backups

To ensure that you have data backups, creating a plan for storing them is important. You should consider storing backups in a safe place, such as off-site or in the cloud. It’s also essential to test the integrity of your backups regularly and store them in multiple locations so that if one location becomes inaccessible due to disaster or attack, other copies are still available elsewhere.

Additionally, encryption should be applied whenever possible because this will help protect against unauthorized access by hackers or other malicious actors who may want access to sensitive information like customer credit card numbers or Social Security numbers (SSNs).

Have a Disaster Recovery Plan Ready

A disaster recovery plan is a document that outlines how you will recover your business after an outage. It should include information on how to respond if your company loses power, has a security breach or other emergency, and/or if a natural disaster affects your operations.

It’s important for all companies, even those with fewer than ten employees, to have their disaster recovery plan in place. In fact, small businesses are more vulnerable than large corporations when it comes to downtime because they often don’t have dedicated IT teams. But despite the benefits, only 45% of firms interviewed in a study stated that they have the adequate budget to face such risks.

In addition to having access to emergency resources like power generators or backup servers, having an up-to-date copy of all data stored on your servers will ensure minimal impact when something goes wrong with one aspect of your business operations.


Downtime can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the tips in this article and leveraging a managed IT services provider, you can reduce downtime and increase efficiency.

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