aND BrandPoint — A recent study of IT systems performed by Quorum has revealed some shocking statistics about IT downtime in small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
The study, called the Quorum Often, patches are not properly tested before they’re deployed for regular software maintenance. This can cause software failure and critical software corruption.
The best way to minimize software failure is to create a set of IT best practices that defines how each software patch will be tested and outlines a set of standards to ensure that software patching and maintenance is undertaken safely.
No. 4 — Natural Disasters (five percent)
When you think of an unexpected event causing IT downtime, natural disasters may be foremost in your mind. Undoubtedly, natural disasters can be extremely costly for SMEs. It’s estimated by FEMA that around 40 percent of all small businesses affected by natural disasters will never reopen. This is a real situation that managed IT in Vancouver professionals have experienced and now have prepared for.
But while natural disasters can have a serious impact on your business, they’re a comparatively rare cause of IT downtime. According to Quorum, only about 5 percent of all IT downtime was caused by natural disasters such as flooding, lightning strikes, earthquakes and other so-called “acts of God.”
No. 3 — Software Failure (18 percent)
Software failure ranked third in the overall findings of the study, coming in at 18 percent of unexpected IT downtime. This is no surprise – the average business can rely on dozens of different software programs for smooth functionality.
From large, software-defined databases and POS systems, to online order processing systems, ERP systems and more, the average company uses quite a few software applications.
Often, patches are not tested before they’re deployed for regular software maintenance – and this can cause software failure and critical software corruption.
The best way to minimize software failure is by creating a set of IT best practices that defines how each software patch will be tested and whic outlines a set of standards to ensure that software patching and maintenance is undertaken safely.
No. 2 — Human Error (22 percent)
Human error was the No. 2 cause of unexpected IT downtime, ranking at 22 percent of all incidents. This is a very large category – including anything from accidentally deploying the wrong server patch, to the deletion of files from a server or a Network-Attached Storage device.
There are three ways to address IT downtime caused by human error.
First, IT departments should hire consultants to help educate staff and personnel about data integrity best practices. They must ensure that they understand how to correctly interact with all of the software programs they must use in their day-to-day tasks.
Next, IT administrators should ensure that workers are given the proper level of administrative privileges. A temporary worker should never be able to accidentally delete critical files from a server, for example – proper authentication should be used to restrict access to these types of programs.
Finally, a disaster recover plan should be made for all major servers and filesystems, and with regular backups and snapshots. This allows the quick restoration of critical files and systems, even in case of accidental human error.
And the No. 1 cause of IT downtime is …
Hardware failure is the No. 1 cause of unexpected system downtime for SMEs (55 percent).
Even companies who have a robust IT infrastructure with redundant backups can suffer from accidental hardware failure – and if there are no backups in place for the system, the results can be disastrous.
One reason this is common among smaller business is that new IT systems are so costly. Companies with smaller IT budgets aren’t always able or willing to invest in modern hardware systems. While that choice will save you some money in the short run, in the long run it can dramatically increase the risk of a critical hardware failure – resulting in lost profits and dissatisfied customers.
While investing in modern, redundant IT infrastructure is a good way to reduce the risk of hardware failure, too many smaller businesses avoid this entirely.Instead, they’re migrating to a cloud-based IT infrastructure that offers better reliability, performance and uptime – without investing in expensive servers, storage and networking devices.
To protect your company from IT downtime, you need to understand and mitigate these risks.
The best way to protect yourself against unexpected system downtime is with smart, experienced IT consulting services. IT consultants who specialize in SMEs can help your business understand major risk factors. They also can assist you in creating data recovery plans, identifying vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure, and educating employees about IT best practices.
So take a look at your business’s needs today and consider hiring an experienced IT consultant to protect yourself from costly, unexpected IT downtime.
For aNewDomain BrandPoint, I’m Max Zachary.