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The Real Cost of IT Downtime

August 18th, 2013 by admin

Frustrated user pulling their hair while staring angrily at a computer screen

Downtime - it isn't always what you think!

When you think downtime, I'm sure you're picturing the results of a total IT disaster - perhaps a flood destroying the server room or a malicious virus that hacks the network, forcing everyone to close up shop. This is the kind of downtime that may take days, even weeks to repair and costs your business thousands of dollars in support fees and lost business.

While this kind of disaster-induced total downtime is a very real threat that should be prepared for, it is by no means the most common or in many cases the most debilitating form of downtime. What do we mean? Let's first get a better idea of what downtime really is.

Downtime, Defined

The Random House Dictionary defines downtime as:

  1. A time during a regular working period when an employee is not actively productive.
  2. An interval during which a machine is not productive, as during repair, malfunction, maintenance.

In both instances, downtime is described in terms of productivity - either an employee or a machine is not working productively for some reason. Lost productivity does not necessarily denote a complete inability to work due to a disaster, but rather anything that causes an employee or machine to be less than ideally productive.

For example, Wilma Flintstone may lose active productivity when her network is slow and IT systems are poorly maintained, taking five times longer than it should to load simple emails or applications, and therefore wasting a massive amount of time over a single work day. Wilma has limited resources and cash flow, and decided long ago she would rather deal with a slow network and older, poorly maintained IT systems than hire an IT Managed Service Provider to pick up the pieces. Wilma thinks she's saving money by choosing to ignore a harmless problem.

Imagine if Wilma lost a compounded 40 minutes a day waiting on sluggish IT, restarting her frozen computer, scouring troubleshooting forums online, and perhaps performing emergency virus checks when she feared infection. 40 minutes a day is 800 minutes, or 13.3 hours a month - 160 hours a year! Wilma is still able to work, but her productivity is vastly diminished, costing the company in high efficiency losses over time. And we haven't even mentioned Wilma's 10 employees, racking up the same amount of daily downtime - we won't even do the math for them! All these little bits of “harmless” lost productivity are now resulting in one very big problem that could have been avoided from the beginning.

The Real Cost of IT Downtime

The real cost of IT-induced downtime is not only a result of the hours and days rebuilding after IT systems fail, but the cumulative sum and associated cost of every minute of active productivity lost by every employee and machine in an organization over the course of a year. If that's not reason enough to be serious about enhancing IT productivity, I'm not sure what is!

What does downtime cost you?

Posted in: Managed IT Services