- There is no telling when a critical infrastructure outage will occur
- If a company’s IT servers and other critical infrastructure stop working, downtime can affect the business, its employees, and its customers
- Critical infrastructure downtime can cost a business hundreds or thousands of dollars per minute
- A proactive approach is key to prevent IT systems downtime
- Businesses can back up IT servers, conduct risk audits, and take other measures to guard against downtime
Critical infrastructure downtime can put a serious dent in your company’s bottom line. But, with the right approach, you can prevent an IT outage.
A power outage can shut down your company’s critical infrastructure. And, for each second of critical infrastructure downtime, your bottom line takes a hit. You will lose money for every second that your IT systems are not working.
Meanwhile, your employees can become frustrated if they cannot access IT systems to perform everyday tasks. At the same time, customers will lose faith in a business that cannot meet its expectations. If malfunctioning IT systems hamper your company’s ability to support its customers, they may look to your rivals for the services and support they need.
How you approach critical infrastructure downtime can have far-flung effects on your business, its employees, and its customers. With the right approach to downtime, you can avoid this issue.
How much will IT systems downtime cost your business?
The total cost of IT systems downtime varies. In 2014, research firm Gartner estimated the total cost of downtime was approximately $5,600 per minute. Since that time, businesses of all sizes and across all industries have experienced downtime.
For example, Facebook and Delta Air Lines are two of the most prominent brands to suffer IT outages over the past few years. Both companies likely lost millions of dollars due to their inability to provide employees and customers with access to the services and support they needed.
How to prevent critical infrastructure downtime
No one wants to become the next Facebook or Delta, i.e., a globally recognized brand that experiences a critical infrastructure outage that causes significant financial losses. Fortunately, you don’t need to be an IT expert to prevent downtime. Now, let’s look at five tips to help you keep your critical IT systems up and running 24/7.
1. Establish server backups and test them regularly
Think about what will happen if your IT servers malfunction or stop working altogether. At this time, your business needs a plan B. Otherwise, you’ll need to work quickly to repair or replace your faulty servers. The longer it takes to get your servers running as expected, the more expensive your server outage becomes.
Create server backups, so your business can recover immediately if one or more servers goes down. Also, update and test your server backups regularly. That way, if you need to use your server backups, you can rest assured that they’ll work properly.
2. Evaluate your facility
Walk through your facility and keep an eye out for any critical infrastructure dangers. For instance, if data center equipment appears worn down or damaged, you can repair or replace it. Or, if you notice cables someone could trip over or your server room feels extremely hot, you can address such issues accordingly.
It’s typically a good idea to perform a facility walk-through at least once a week. The walk-through can be completed by a group of IT managers and employees. Together, these IT professionals can identify and mitigate any IT system issues in their early stages.
3. Track your devices
Deploy network monitoring solutions across your devices. These solutions won’t stop IT problems from happening. Conversely, they allow your IT team to be alerted any time unusual activities or events indicate there may be a problem with your critical infrastructure.
Along with network monitoring solutions, it can be beneficial to use network inventory and configuration management software. This software allows your IT team to track your switches, workstations, firewalls, and other critical infrastructure. It also enables IT team members to verify that your IT systems are consistently operating at peak levels.
4. Keep your devices up to date
Ensure that all critical infrastructure operating systems, hardware, and applications are kept up to date. Failure to do so could cause you to miss out on security patches or upgrades. In this scenario, hackers may be able to infiltrate your IT systems. At this point, hackers can access your company’s sensitive data and use it however they choose.
Automatic updates can be set up to confirm the latest security patches or upgrades are installed as soon as they become available. Furthermore, your IT team can develop a schedule for device maintenance and updates.
5. Perform a risk audit
Conduct an audit to understand the risk of IT systems downtime. The audit involves letting a critical infrastructure expert assess your facility and identifying any risks that can lead to outages. Then, the expert can offer tips and insights to mitigate downtime risks. The expert can also provide a risk management plan tailored to your business.
A risk audit offers an excellent starting point for any business that wants to combat IT downtime. Upon completion, the audit can help a company determine the best course of action to prevent downtime. Over time, additional audits can be performed to ensure a company can guard against outages now and in the future.
Take steps to avoid IT downtime
When it comes to critical infrastructure downtime, it pays to be proactive. By partnering with UES, you can avoid IT system issues that can lead to outages.