Your organization likely keeps an eye on every budget dollar carefully. But there's one cost that usually only gets accounted for after the fact: downtime. It doesn’t matter if it’s caused by ransomware, a cybersecurity breach, hardware failure, or natural disaster, every minute of downtime can be costly. Hourly downtime costs can run from hundreds of thousands to millions dollars depending on the business. You'll find a simple way to calculate your own downtime costs in this post.Those big dollars may apply to larger businesses. Still, even smaller enterprises where downtime takes mission-critical server hardware and applications offline can run into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs due to lost business, productivity disruptions, and remediation efforts. This money would be better spent on mitigation strategies and solutions before downtime strikes your organization. Here are some steps you can take to keep downtime to a minimum.
1. Plan for Recovery
The best way to ensure a fast recovery is to plan ahead. We’ve put together a brief IT disaster recovery planning checklist to help you get started. You'll also need to set your recovery time objective (RTO)—the length of time you can live without access to your data—and recovery point objective (RPO), which defines the amount of data you can afford to lose in a disaster. Once you've built your plan, test it regularly. Make sure it will work when you need it. That is a significant first step in keeping downtime to a minimum.
2. Keep Everything Up to Date
Updates and patches for operating systems, hardware, and applications are often pushed out to meet new security threats and block existing vulnerabilities. Make sure that devices—personal and business-owned—that access your organization’s network have the latest updates in place. Your IT team should also make preventive maintenance a priority, with scheduled updates limited to off-hours and everyone that will be impacted notified well in advance. Outdated hardware and software are two other potential points of failure that need to be addressed. Don’t wait to upgrade if you aren’t confident in your infrastructure components’ reliability.
3. Educate Your Workforce
Cyberattacks like ransomware can be a nightmare. Sophisticated social engineering and phishing attacks let bad actors sneak into your network simply from clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected PDF by an employee. The result is painful downtime. So train your people to be wary about every email they receive. Put the best possible cyber protection and email filters in place. And make sure you have an effective reporting mechanism so IT can be quickly notified by an employee if there’s a threat.
4. Install a Backup Power System
Whether the result of natural disasters or localized power grid failures, your business can come to a screeching halt when the power goes out. While an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) can help in the immediate term, a backup generator system may well be worth the investment when your power goes out, even for a short time.
5. Test Your Infrastructure
It's a good idea to regularly schedule tests to ensure your servers, hardware, and software are all working correctly. Testing should also include your backup power system, should you choose to acquire one, so you can be confident that the lights will immediately come back on in an outage.
6. Consider Disaster Recovery as a Service
No matter how prepared you may be, there's always a chance that something can happen that takes your systems down. Say a hurricane strikes, and your datacenter is destroyed. Or a cyberattack locks up your data. StorageCraft disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) lets you recover quickly, even if a site-wide disaster strikes. Following an event, your data can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from a purpose-built disaster recovery cloud that features 99.999+ percent uptime. Service options even include the ability to pre-stage site-wide failover processes so that you can test or execute a failover with a click of a button.
IT teams are the front line forces in the fight against downtime. So when downtime happens, all heads turn toward IT. That's a spotlight everyone wants to avoid. So please plan ahead and take the steps toward minimizing downtime we’ve outlined above. And find a StorageCraft Technology Partner if you want help putting the right data protection solution in place for your business.
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