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4 Reasons Why Downtime Happens

Downtime is a computer industry term that refers to the time during which a computer or IT system is unavailable, offline, or not operational. Downtime is caused by many things including scheduled shutdowns for maintenance (known as scheduled downtime), human error, software or hardware malfunctions, and environmental disasters (such as power outages, fires, flooding, or major temperature changes).  

The cost of downtime implies not only direct financial loss but can have an impact on your company in several other ways:

  • Reputational Damage
  • Decline in Productivity 
  • Lost Opportunities 
  • Data Loss

In the environment of IT, downtime can be one of the metrics used to measure system availability. Availability is often measured against a 100% operational (or never-fails) standard. A common standard of availability is 99.999%, sometimes known as “five 9s” availability.  

Service level agreements (SLAs) often use monthly downtime or availability percentages for billing calculation. Scheduled downtime for system updates and routine maintenance is usually not included in the availability percentages for SLA contracts. 

For provisioning, service level agreements may use uptime and downtime percentages to describe how dependable various services are available to clients. Such percentages can help to determine the value of each service, as most clients desire continuous real-time availability (or zero downtime).  

Before you start looking for ways to prevent downtime, first understand why it happens. There are 4 main reasons why businesses experience IT downtime.

Table of Contents

Human Error

Obviously, human errors are unavoidable, but you can minimize them by setting instructions and standards for your employees to follow. With a frequent training regiment and constant feedback, your workers can decrease the chance of possible mistakes and their severity.

Internet and Power Outages

You can’t control the internet or power outages, as they are mostly unplanned. However, you and your team can prepare for them and reduce the effects.

Hardware Failure

Hardware failure ranks third place among the reasons why downtime happens. This can be avoided if you duplicate your hardware and have an excess of it. Moreover, to be extra safe, you should maintain and update your hardware on a regular basis.

Cybersecurity Risk

Cybersecurity threats can be a real risk for your business these days. To protect your data and network from cyber-attacks, you can use multi-factor authentication, fraud detection software, and file encryption, to name just a few methods.