In your personal life, the notion of downtime is a good thing. In the business world, not so much. Even a few hours of downtime is enough to significantly hurt a company’s health and put the future into question.

The Cost of Downtime 

Whether you run a small business or major corporation, the cost of downtime can seriously weigh on your business. In many cases, it can put you out of business.

The cost of downtime (per hour) = Lost Revenue + Lost Productivity + Recovery Costs + Intangible Costs (such as damage to brand reputation). According to Gartner, the average cost of network downtime is somewhere around $5,600 per minute – or $300,000 per hour.

In other words, you can’t have downtime become a reoccurring issue for your business. It’s something that must be prevented at all costs.

4 Ways to Prevent Downtime 

Downtime can stem from any number of issues or underlying factors. Network failures and power outages are among the most common culprits. Other top factors include outdated software and hardware, natural disasters (like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tornados), and human error.

While you can’t completely absolve your company of all risk, there are some tangible steps you can take towards mitigating the threat of costly downtime in the future.

Here are some ideas:

1. Invest in a UPS

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is essentially a battery backup that kicks in and provides power to your business when your regular power source fails (or voltage drops below the desirable threshold). With a UPS, you’ll have access to power for a period of time after the underlying power source is compromised. Furthermore, you’re able to safely and systematically shut down computers and connected equipment.

There are a few different types of UPS technologies, and they all function a little differently. Standby is the most basic form. A standby UPS kicks in a battery backup source of power when there’s a blackout, voltage surge, or voltage sag. Then there’s line interactive UPS, which corrects minor power fluctuations without having to switch to the battery. Finally, there’s double-conversion UPS. This is the most advanced type, and it provides clean and perfect power, regardless of the condition of the incoming power.

In addition to choosing the right UPS power source, you need to work with a service partner that maintains and stands behind the system should it fail. Around the clock emergency dispatch is a must.

2. Create a Response Plan

Do you have a disaster recovery or response plan in place? While it may seem like overkill, it’s one of the smartest things you’ll ever do.

“Disaster recovery is basically imagining issues that could happen and what you could do to solve them or reduce the damage,” one IT expert explains. “It’s important be prepared, and since a disaster is unexpected, you don’t know when it can happen. So it is all about asking the right questions like: How will you reestablish all your systems? How will you minimize the impact of the failure or event? How will you recover all the data you’ve lost?”

Think about your business and the particular risks and challenges that it faces. You should then plan out various disaster scenarios and how you’d respond.

3. Back Up Your Data

Ideally, a purposeful and comprehensive strategy will help you avoid downtime altogether. However, there are certain situations that can’t be prevented. In these cases, you want to be as prepared as possible. Backing up your data is one smart step to take.

Thanks to improvements in technology and the number of service providers on the market, data backup is extremely easy and cost effective. Take the time to review your options and make a smart choice.

4. Regularly Service Equipment 

You can’t afford to wait until a problem with your hardware or equipment causes an issue. It’s wise to invest in preventative maintenance and regular servicing of equipment. 

Give Your Business a Head Start

You can’t grow your business if you don’t have the right foundational building blocks in place. By proactively addressing the threat of downtime on the front end, you allow your business to focus on sales and growth (rather than IT infrastructure).

Go ahead and develop a plan and see where it takes you.