Server downtime is a completely avoidable business interruption, so it’s surprising that so many companies deal with the consequences rather than the causes, when a switch to a more reliable ISP or a dedicated leased line could prove a quick fix for near-constant uptime.
Historically the target for many providers has been ‘five nines’, meaning they aim to deliver 99.999% uptime, but more recently some go even further than that.
It’s unrealistic to expect absolutely 100% uptime from any connection, as there are many complex things that can create at least momentary interruptions, but by maximising your uptime as far as possible, you can avoid the kinds of costly business effects we’ll look at below.
The big immediate business loss due to downtime is employee productivity, especially if the bulk of your activities take place online, and an office full of paid staff twiddling their thumbs is a cash drain for every second, minute and hour that the outage lasts.
Businesses put a lot of money into disaster recovery and business continuity plans, so don’t neglect this area. The right server can keep you connected for longer, while good switches will offer the ability to ‘failover’ to an alternative ISP if your primary connection drops out.
If you rely on a constant stream of inbound online orders and enquiries, or even telephone orders via a VoIP system that goes down when your server does, interruptions can be doubly costly.
With online and VoIP telephone orders all affected by the same outage, your entire business could be put on hold by even a short period of downtime – and there’s no guarantee of making those orders back up when your hardware is up and running again.
This is especially important given the round-the-clock nature of many online businesses, and if you receive orders or enquiries overnight, when tech support teams are less likely to be on hand, you definitely want to know your connection will still be up by morning.
Finally, and arguably the longest-lasting effect, is the damage that can be done to your business reputation by even a single major downtime event, which is only made even worse if you suffer multiple periods of downtime that affect your ability to serve your customers.
Sticking with an unreliable ISP or hosting provider doesn’t just affect your internal operations, it can affect the public perception of your brand too – so why put up with it?
A well managed infrastructure upgrade or switch over to a better ISP doesn’t have to introduce significant downtime in its own right, and can help to insulate you against future lost connectivity, preventing long-lasting damage to your public perception and brand reputation.