How Much Downtime Can Your Business Afford?

Chances are there’s at least one application you use at work that you absolutely cannot do without. Your email, CRM or even helpdesk are valuable tools that have the potential to impact workplace productivity when down.

What would happen if that system isn’t available for any length of time? Do you have manual processes that you can stick to in the meantime, or do you give up, go to the pub and eventually go home?

It’s the responsibility of whoever manages your company’s IT systems, to ensure that such downtime is kept to an absolute minimum. A good IT department or vendor will maintain contact with management to ensure that the correct level of availability is defined and stuck to, for all business applications!

Your IT team should be considering these 5 things when planning how to minimise downtime of business applications:

  1. High availability – In IT terms, high availability generally refers to having multiple, redundant systems responsible for delivering a single outcome. For example, you might have 2 mail servers, and if either of them goes offline, the service stays the same.
  2. Service Health Dashboards – Invest in a good ITSM (IT Service Management) toolset for your service desk, containing a dashboard that displays the health of business applications.
  3. Monitoring – Closely tied to the above point, your IT team needs to be made aware of problems with the infrastructure required to deliver a service. Ideally, an incident should be identified and rectified before the users of the application even notices. For this to be done appropriately, a well-maintained monitoring platform is required.
  4. Backups – Regular backups to the right system is the most important detail of maintaining your own IT infrastructure, protecting your business against loss in productivity and possibly revenue. Furthermore, certain industries require a proper backup regime as part of their compliance policies.
  5. Testing your backups and DR plan! – I cannot stress this enough. Your backups and disaster recovery (DR) plan are quite possibly useless unless you test them on a regular basis. That little green tick next to your backup history report means nothing when you find that it doesn’t contain the data that Sharon in HR accidentally deleted yesterday. Similarly, that “test successful” notification from your DR tool is not very helpful when your primary data centre has burned to the ground and none of your applications are working.

Many of the above-mentioned points, require an expensive up-front investment. The key word here, however, is ‘investment’. Offline IT systems result in loss of staff productivity and loss of revenue, which can add up to be a costly experience.  In many cases, these expenses are significantly more expensive and stressful than the implementation of a proper prevention plan to minimise downtime.

If you need any assistance quantifying the cost of IT system downtime or want to ensure that your business is protected, contact us today.

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.