The Cost of Unexpected Downtime
IT infrastructure, along with applications and services hosted within, are vital to the success of organisations in today’s business environment. Therefore, the impact of downtime on your business can be significant.
Hardware failures, power outages, natural disasters, cyberattacks and human error can all cause unexpected downtime. Which for a business that requires consistent, reliable connectivity (i.e. all of them) can have a wide ranging negative impact. These include: lost and vulnerable data, inability to provide core services, decrease in productivity and loss of sales. While it is common sense to strive to minimise downtime as a whole, putting a monetary value on downtime will help make decisions on how best to go about doing so.
For SMEs, a useful calculation to find the hourly/daily cost of downtime is below.
So, as an example, for a small company operating a normal 5 day/40 hour week, with an annual turnover of £1 million, the hourly cost of downtime can be calculated as:
So, how do you minimise downtime?
The cloud has transformed the way we do business, improving availability, performance, security and cost controls, especially for SMEs. While the cloud isn’t perfect, having the right support behind it will help significantly reduce the downtime, and specifically for SMEs will provide a more reliable and secure environment than they could create for themselves.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
With the right cloud services (and provider) you will have access to your applications and data from anywhere, even if your main operations facility is inaccessible due to a disaster. Even more so, any provider worth their salt will manage the backups and disaster recovery procedures on your behalf. Giving you peace of mind that, even if your data is compromised, they can have you back up and running completely.
However, an important distinction between provides when it comes to Backup and Disaster Recovery is their Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO is the time it takes to restore access after an interruption. A measure of how highly available your provider makes your system. RPO is the restore point of your data. How far back do the backups go? This is essentially a measure of how much data you can afford to lose.
Downtime will be greatly minimised if you engage with a cloud provider who proactively monitors your system. By attending to problems before they affect your business your provider will be able to minimise (and possibly eliminate) any downtime your business suffers.
This is a big benefit of engaging with a cloud provider because keeping your IT systems running is their business and is the reason you put them in charge of your IT in the first place. Furthermore, unlike local IT support companies (who you would pay per call out) cloud companies charge a flat monthly fee. They, therefore, need to keep the ‘extra’ work they do to a minimum in order to continue being profitable.
Not surprisingly phishing campaigns and ransomware have increased (55% and 35%, respectively). As the tech evolves to thwart these attacks, so does the tech that launches them in the first place. So in order to ensure you’re protected efficiently, you need to carry out continuous monitoring, patch management and routine maintenance.
However, nearly half of businesses struggle with appointing employees with sufficient cybersecurity skills. This can be a major issue as infections are commonly the result of inadequate patching, misconfiguration, human error and/or negligence. These errors can be costly if the network if infiltrated or backups corrupted.
Therefore, businesses often approach a cloud provider who is able to keep their network secure while allowing you to focus on the day to day responsibilities of running your business. Approaching a provider will also give you the scalability of their skills. You pay a monthly fee based on the number of users so, as your business grows more resources can be allocated never leaving you short.
Redundancies are hardware or network systems that are installed to back up the primary resources and will kick in if something stops the primary resources from functioning properly. For a cloud provider, this will be a 2nd data centre or redundant power supplies for their equipment.
These redundancies are in place to get you back up and running if something were to go down.