It’s long been said that everyone needs a little downtime — including those working in small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Even our servers and computer systems need downtime, for repairs and the like. Unexpected downtime, however, can be a real problem, but there are some fairly simple ways to prevent it.
The Risks of Downtime
For SMBs, downtime is a good news/bad news situation when compared to big businesses. SMB systems tend to be smaller, and it’s therefore easier to manage these systems and prevent many common causes of downtime before they can become significant issues.
Yet at the same time, for an SMB any amount of downtime is disastrous. The couple hours of downtime that might cost a larger business a tiny fraction of its annual revenue could represent entire whole-number percentages of an SMB’s revenue. Plus, there are the losses of customer confidence and potential sales to consider.
Protecting Against Downtime
The good news is that, once the basic causes of downtime are understood, countermeasures can be taken to prevent such problems in the future. While not all downtime can be prevented, any downtime that is prevented will likely have direct, positive bottom-line ramifications.
- Remember human error. Many causes of downtime can be traced back to human error — a power cord tripped over, a network cable jiggled slightly out of place, an emergency shutdown button pressed inadvertently, or even Ricky the Intern accidentally moving a piece of equipment he shouldn’t have are all examples. By recognizing the potential for human error, many common causes of downtime can be prevented.
- Focus on the system. Those errors not immediately attributable to human error can usually be blamed on the system itself. System errors can often be planned for and defeated by developing a dynamic, durable system that can be scaled upward as needed instead of run to its breaking point. Also, consider standardizing components with single suppliers to make summoning help easier.
- Consider outside help and redundancy. There are services available that can monitor a site around the clock and send text messages when a service goes down, making it easier to spot when downtime has happened. Having redundant systems in place enables you to switch to emergency backups, which allows operations to continue even while the issue that caused downtime is being fixed.
Network Power Prevents Downtime
Having a strong network in place can prevent many common causes of downtime, though nothing can truly prevent all downtime. Turning to Innovative Business Solutions can help provide the necessary iron in the network’s spine to keep many common causes of downtime at bay.