The problem with downtime when it comes to IT in small business is that the costs associated with that downtime—even just a few minutes a day, as we’ll explain below—are largely hidden from the business owner’s purview. These extraneous expenses are often noticed only after the business has already absorbed the expense, slowly and steadily, over the course of the fiscal year.
Downtime adds up, and a few minutes a day can amount to tens of thousands of dollars per year across an entire organization. Putting a number on what downtime might cost your business can help you put a plan in place to prioritize solutions, mitigate the loss of profits, and restore productivity. It can also be a motivating factor in getting your business set up with a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, which can help keep your business up-and-running in the event of an incident, data breach, or other disaster.
What Are the Typical Causes of IT-Related Downtime?
Downtime usually falls into two categories: everyday issues and catastrophic issues.
Everyday issues are issues that a business will experience that don’t result in a loss of business operations on a full scale. In other words, when a computer crashes, hard drive fails, or printer jams up, you have an everyday issue that can really slow down productivity if it isn’t fixed quickly. But it won’t shut down your business—at least not in the immediate future.
These types of regularly occurring technology glitches can be both obvious and hidden in nature. An obvious issue would be a major hardware or power failure that halts production for a few hours until it is sorted out. An example of a hidden issue would be a slow internet connection or a printer that runs out of ink at an alarming rate. Hidden issues are the kind of thing that might make an employee get up for another cup of coffee, but not necessarily call the help desk for support.
Catastrophic issues are site-wide issues that can have a serious impact on a business’s ability to continue operations. Incidents like natural disasters and full-scale data loss can often shut down a business that doesn’t have a disaster response and business continuity plan in place.
The Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Costs of Downtime in Small Business
One of the least financially damaging of all the disasters still packs quite a punch when it comes to lost profits. Consider the slow drip of the hidden costs associated with a slow employee workstation:
Take an average employee wage of $40,000 per year, which breaks down to about $19.23 per hour. In a typical day, assume that the employee’s experiences a few minutes of slower-than-usual file transfer speeds, amounting to about 15 minutes per day when that employee checks their smartphone and dabbles on social media while they wait. Over the course of a week, you’re looking at $24.01 in personal smartphone browsing for that employee. For the year, it’s about $1248.52.
Now imagine that you have ten employees in a similar situation for a grand total of $12,485.20—and you start to see some serious losses in productivity and wasted company resources.
In addition to the hidden issues and costs related to everyday downtime, small businesses face a variety of more serious losses as well:
- Loss of revenue
- Cost of repairs
- Employee retention losses
- Loss of business opportunity
- Loss of customer loyalty and goodwill
- Damage to brand reputation
- Public relations damage control and associated expenses
For Maximum Business Productivity and Uptime, Implement a Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan
A reputable managed IT provider will work with you to create a comprehensive disaster response and business continuity plan that will keep you up-and-running in the face of any disaster, whether it’s large or small scale. If you think your business could benefit from having a plan in place to mitigate the long-term damages from everyday occurrences and major disasters, contact your IT solutions provider at Intrinium for a full assessment of your business continuity needs.