Companies small and large are increasingly reliant on their IT systems and infrastructure. Having a Business Continuity plan is a proactive way of avoiding unnecessary downtime due to a disaster, human error, or security breach. Not only may downtime cause data loss, but also according to Gartner Research, a conservative estimate of the  cost of downtime for a computer network is $42,000 per hour. For a small business without a Business Continuity plan, such downtime could have long-term crippling implications.

In case of natural disasters or IT outages, it is important to be able to calculate risks and financial losses caused by downtime in order to best allocate IT resources to get your business back online quickly. Below are suggestions for putting downtime for your computer network in perspective.

Downtime of your Computer Network and Your Business Continuity Plan

There are many factors that contribute to losses caused by downtime. These factors include employee productivity, financial losses, fines, legal fees, loss of revenue, and loss of goodwill. Whether it is inventory sitting on trucks, invoices that don’t go out, or cash registers that stop ringing, it is important to understand which applications and data are most important to bring back quickly. By identifying the systems that are most important to keeping your doors open, you will quickly realize where the highest risk of downtime is in your business.  Also note that losing sensitive data, such as credit card information, may attract heavy fines and loss of reputation in addition to lost revenue.

How to Avoid Downtime With Your Business Continuity Plan

To avoid the disastrous effects that downtime can have on your business, having a business continuity plan is crucial. A business continuity plan is a set of guidelines, systems, policies, and procedures that are designed to set your business back on track in the event of a disaster. These plans should include details on backing applications and their data with an emphasis on system recovery.

Downtime may not only result from a natural disaster but also from hardware failures, human error, or cyber attacks. Because of the many causes of downtime, it is important to periodically test your backup and recovery scenarios to make sure you can bring your systems up in a timely manner.  For disaster scenarios, also consider training employees on protocol in an emergency situation.

Understanding the effects that a disaster can have on your company is extremely important. In order to prepare your business for a disaster, it is necessary to analyze the costs and risks associated with downtime of your critical applications and their data. Having a proactive business continuity plan will save your business money, and may save your business.


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