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The Insidious Damage of Incidental Lost Availability

By DynaSis

Earlier this month, I talked about unplanned downtime in the context of disaster recovery and business continuity. That discussion got me thinking about the cost of the incidental downtime―the little inconveniences that impact some businesses on a regular basis. Things like employees not being able to log into the company’s network because the firm’s IT guy forgot to update everyone with new passwords on the first of the month. Or, even the tiny amounts of downtime that result when you work with a reliable (but not best practices) data hosting service.

This incidental―and incremental―downtime can really add up. Take, for example, the variations in “high availability” among Internet and data center providers. How much difference can there be between 99% uptime (industry average) and 99.99% uptime (what DynaSis delivers)? As it turns out, the difference can be substantial.

Let’s assume you have 50 employees that rely on their computers at the workplace each day. Let’s also assume your burdened hourly rate (pay plus benefits) is the national average ($29.11 per hour, per the U.S. Department of Labor; yours might be much higher). 50 times $29.11 equals $1455.50. That is your cost, per hour, of having your computing systems and/or network unavailable for an hour.

Now, let’s extrapolate that cost in terms of a network/systems provider’s availability over one year. If your provider promises 99% availability (uptime), over one year you could expect your systems to be down for 88 hours―365 x 24 x 1%. If your provider promises 99.99% availability, over the course of a year you could expect your systems to be down for .88 hours―365 x 24 x .01%. That’s a big difference.

Multiply that figure by the average burdened hourly rate we established earlier to get your downtime risk, in terms of wasted employee resource, and the comparison becomes even starker. With 99% uptime, your downtime risk is $128,084 per year. With the 99.99% availability provider, it’s $1,280.84.

Of course, these downtime figures include “down hours” in the calculations―periods when the office is closed and no one is using your systems. If you calculate the figure using eight hours per day rather than 24, the numbers drop substantially.

However, unless you work with a 24/7 managed IT systems provider, there will be no one in the office to note the downtime when it occurs. Depending on the nature of the event, it might interrupt backup operations, necessitate server reboots, and cause other disruptions that will result in unplanned downtime the next morning.

Furthermore, if your company relies heavily on technology―if you offer 24-hour e-commerce or service; for example, the cost of downtime escalates considerably. (When went dark for 30 minutes in August, it lost more than $66,000 per minute.) Furthermore, these calculations don’t account for lost business or reputation, which can occur frighteningly quickly in today’s “instant gratification” marketplace.

Finally, these figures are for availability of the data center and its network delivery mechanism, and do not include downtime from problems within your internal systems, like incorrectly configured network settings or server crashes. Take those into account, and unless you have a trusted rapid-response team, downtime can be a lot greater.

So, here’s a thought. If you currently work with a network provider or data host that isn’t delivering 99.99% uptime, or you have been disappointed by an IT consultant or in-house resource that cannot trace and resolve downtime problems quickly, give me a call. We’ll show you the “up” side to implementing round-the-clock systems monitoring and support.

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