Regardless of the sector you operate in or the size of your business, when your operations rely on technology and access to data, it is crucial that your systems are always available and performing as required. If you have a system failure, the impact on your business can be catastrophic and can extend beyond financial consequences.

What causes downtime?

A common cause of downtime is ransomware attacks, which utilise encryption to hold the victims’ data at ransom, for a sum decided by the attacker. In the first four months of 2021, the National Cyber Security Centre handled the same number of ransomware incidents as they did in the entirety of 2020, with as many as one in three businesses being subject to cyber breaches.

A large number of businesses believe they are unlikely to be a victim of these, however a recent article from IT Pro warns that small businesses are more likely to be a victim of ransomware attacks in 2022 as cyber criminals begin utilising campaigns less likely to draw direct action from law enforcement.

Another leading cause of downtime, and one not always considered by businesses, is human error. Tech Radar details a famous example of this with the outage at British Airways in 2017. This was caused by an IT technician switching off an uninterruptable power supply, grounding 200 flights and leaving 75,000 customers stranded (Financial Times). The risk of human error causing business disruption and outages can be mitigated with proper training, but this does not eliminate the chance of it happening.

With ransomware attacks and the possibility of human error, as well as other common causes of downtime such as outdated hardware and bugs in a server’s OS, it makes sense to consider investing in solutions.

The true cost of downtime

From halting production or business operations to financial losses, data breaches and reputational damage – the true cost of downtime can be extensive.

In 2021 a study from the Phonemon Institute found the average cost of a data breach in the UK was £3.5million. However, it is important to note that it’s not just the cost of not being operational for hours or days that impact a business. One of the biggest consequences and cost factors in downtime is data loss which can cause ongoing problems for businesses.

The loss of customer and employee data can erode trust in a business and raise questions around security and GDPR. This can lead to people being less likely to use the business in the future and may make prospective employees wary of joining the company. This can affect customer loyalty and the business’s reputation in the long-term.

There are a wide range of factors that affect how much an outage will cost your business, from the amount of data on critical business systems and how regularly the data is backed up to the number of employees and business turnover.

We used a downtime calculator to estimate the cost of downtime to a business with no disaster recovery and backup solutions in place. In addition, the business has:

Data on business-critical systems: 2,500 GB

Cloud back up frequency: 12 hours

Employees: 40

Average employee salary: £25,000 pa

Average employee overhead: £10,000

Annual turnover: £500,000

It is anticipated that this business would experience more than 81 hours of downtime, costing £59,284. If the recovery process failed, it would cost the business an additional £8,700 per recovery attempt.

If the business had a disaster recovery and backup solution in place, they could have saved approximately £58,848. Recovery costs could be reduced to £1,734, and the business could be operational within 36 minutes.

Disaster recovery and backup solutions

Investing in disaster recovery and backup solutions can protect your business against substantial losses because of downtime. We provide a wide range of disaster recovery and backup solutions which can help protect your business from the impact of downtime and facilitate a speedy recovery. This includes software such as Datto SaaS Protection for Office 365 and Datto Siris.

We also offer preventative solutions such as training and cyber security software as well as ongoing IT support. Our professional IT support aims to prevent any issues before they occur, by utilising proactive monitoring software to spot faults and fix them before they escalate.

In many instances a small monthly fee for a back up and recovery solution can save a business thousands of pounds and minimise time offline. The cost of getting the right solutions and policies, far outweighs the cost in downtime – making these solutions an investment for the long term.

Find out more about the solutions we offer here.