The Real Costs of Downtime: How to Protect Your Small Business
Beyond the panicked shouts of We’re down!, the hammering of fists and kicking of bins, when IT Systems fail, it can hit your business hard.
We have become so dependent on technology that any interruption in service or downtime is not just an inconvenience but potentially catastrophic.
So how does downtime affect SMEs? Check out these research figures from the US:
- Over one third of all small businesses struggle with cash flow.
- Most SMEs carry less than a month of operating costs in cash
- The cost per hour of downtime has been estimated to start at $10,000 per hour and rising from there even for a small business.
- In 2018, 63% of businesses in the US experienced some form of cyber attack, and 43% of all cyber attacks were targeted at small businesses.
And it’s not terribly different for a local Melbourne business.
If you aren’t open for business, your competitors probably are. Downtime can erode customer confidence, affect how your brand is perceived and cost you future business. Ask yourself if you need to give your customers a reason to consider going elsewhere?
What are the top five causes of IT downtime?
A 2018 survey of small business listed the following factors1. Power Failure (33%) 2. Hardware Failure (23%)
3. Human Error (14%)
4. Natural disasters (9%)
5. Cyber Attacks/Ransomware (8%, but growing)
So what can be done to minimise downtime and loss of business?
Irrespective of whether it’s a natural disaster, a hardware failure or a road-side work crew cutting the buildings power supply, every SME should have a business continuity plan in place to ensure that not only are the firm’s data and information backed-up and protected, but that they are quickly restorable and accessible so your operations can be up and running with a minimum of fuss and delay.
While IT outages are sometimes inescapable, disruptive downtime is not. Power failures can happen, but the days of simply reaching for the flashlight are long gone. While the installation of a back-up generator to support essential operations is an option advisable, it’s not always feasible.
If the power remains on but the hardware that is running essential applications or that hosts critical data grinds to a halt, then your business is likely to follow. It usually means that hardware will need to be either repaired or replaced which can take a minimum of hours and often many days depending on your service level agreements. It’s estimated that an extraordinary 140,000 hard drives fail each week in the US. Again, planning for such eventualities protects your business.
Still not convinced that a Business Continuity Plan is necessary? Emails enticing employees to click on innocent looking links (“phishing”) can wreak havoc on your firm’s data and security and phishing is the leading source of ransomware attacks (over 60%). A University of Maryland study indicated that there is an attempted cyber attack every 39 seconds. Cybercrime costs the Australian economy $1 billion annually and costs the average SME just under $5,000 to free their network from Ransomware.
So, what does a Business Continuity plan entail?
Start by choosing a reliable IT solutions provider that enables you to both store your data on-site so you can quickly access if afflicted by downtime, but also provide a cloud based solution in the event of on-site problems. Fortunately, Expert IT Services has you covered. We sit down with you and develop a plan that incorporates both local backup and recovery, and cloud back-up.
Keep in mind that just being in the cloud doesn’t mean your data is secure. A recent report by Skyhigh noted that only one in ten out of almost 20,000 cloud service offerings actually follow best practices when it comes to encrypting and protecting your data. That’s important to keep in mind when besieged by options. It is also why Expert IT Services chose to deploy a proven suite of industry leading Datto Business Continuity solutions, including an All-In-One back-up and recovery system for all your PCs using Datto Cloud, and Datto Cloud Continuity for PCs that is specifically designed for the needs of small business.
At Expert IT Services, we can even configure a solution to provide your employees access to their data using virtualization software which replicates any user’s desktop from anywhere.
Note sure where to begin? Start with giving us a call and asking us to conduct a free, no obligation IT business continuity audit so you can ensure your local business is protected against downtime. Call 03 9474 0044 now or email firstname.lastname@example.org.