IT enables many business processes ranging from digital marketing to inventory management to customer relationship management. Therefore, if one or more of your IT tools fail or go offline, it can mean catastrophe for your operations. Let’s take a look at how IT failures and downtime can negatively impact your business.
If the staff of a shoe store gets locked out of the stock room and none of their keys work, they’ll find it very difficult to find the right sizes for customers just from the stock they have on display. Customers will be frustrated and shop for shoes elsewhere.
This is essentially what happens when ransomware locks you out of your data, or when a distributed denial-of-service attack makes your website slow to load, or when critical information systems suddenly go offline. In such instances, you are unable to serve your customers, which may force them to turn to your competitors instead.
When you become unable to serve your customers, they're forced to turn to your competitors instead.
Once a computer screen displays the dreaded blue screen of death, it can take a while for the IT team to fix the machine. Unless the computer’s user is provided with another PC to work on, they will not really be able to do anything except twiddle their thumbs.
Generally, wasted labor hours are still paid for — and the cost to the company becomes more painful the more users are affected. This is why regular system downtime — the time when primary operational functions of IT systems are suspended so that maintenance and upgrades can be performed — are scheduled during off-hours.
SLA payouts and damage to one’s reputation
In business-to-business relationships, clients need their service providers to be reliable, so all parties typically enter into service level agreements (SLAs). SLAs are assurances from service providers that they’ll always meet an agreed-upon standard of service, or else pay penalties whenever they fall short of that standard.
To illustrate, a call center agency may handle many client accounts. For each client, the agency provides 24/7 hotlines and resolves customer issues on behalf of that client as defined in client-agency SLAs.
The call center agency relies on a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services provider in order to make and receive calls. However, if the VoIP provider suddenly goes offline and becomes unreachable, the call center agency won’t be able to render any services at all. The downtime brought about by the defunct VoIP provider will lead to the call center agency recompensing their clients with refunds, hours of free service, or whatever penalty is specified in the contract.
Furthermore, if the agency takes too long to resume operations, they may not just lose their existing clients, but also gain a bad reputation for being unreliable. The agency will find it immensely difficult to gain new clients and may end up shutting down operations for good.
This is why businesses that rely heavily on VoIP and internet services often partner up with more than one provider to avoid having single points of failure.
Network failures can lead to the following:
- Inability to access much-needed data – Imagine a hospital not being able to access records of patients who are in critical condition. Healthcare workers need to obtain backups fast, be they digital or on paper.
- Data exposure or data loss – Network failures can also lead to lapses in cybersecurity. When a company’s defenses are down, they’re vulnerable to attacks that compromise or exfiltrate data.
- Wide gaps in data continuity – Organizations that utilize machine learning and big data analytics to learn normal behaviors, process complex causal relationships, predict market trends, and make informed decisions will be stalled for a significant amount of time. It’ll take a while before they can discern trends and distill insights from their data once again.
Further reading: Learn more about how data breaches work by downloading our free eBook.
If your business is reliant on IT systems, you need to mitigate the damage that IT failures and downtime can cause. To do this, you need Online Computers’s managed IT services. Schedule a free consultation with our IT experts today.