Tech Downtime

Essential Recovery Methods for IT Disasters

Are constant network outages costing you money? Find out about three important steps your organization can take to prevent and mitigate system downtime.  

There isn't an astute IT manager that wants to hear the word "downtime." Finding out that your systems have gone offline can mean lost revenue and angry, frustrated clients. Up to 96 percent of organizations had at least one IT outage within the previous three years, according to industry blogs. With the increasing digitalization of resources and content, most clients expect systems to be up and online at all times. With 53 percent of IT managers expecting a future outage, being able to recover from disasters is as important as preventing them.

Making Prevention a Priority

Taking measures to ensure network infrastructure is online and available is a high priority for most IT managers. According to leading industry surveys, availability and performance were more of a priority than security and cost. Here are the top reasons why unplanned downtime occurs:

  • Human mistakes.
  • Infrastructure equipment failures.
  • Bursts of activities on the network.
  • Software application errors.

The consequences of unscheduled outages extend beyond the initial costs to bring systems back online. IT departments can lose productivity, and the organization's reputation can take a hit. Outages that are severe and widespread enough to become newsworthy can produce long-term damages, both in terms of lost revenue and compliance-related costs. Businesses that experience a higher number of outages are also likely to have costs that are 16 times greater, on average.

Prevention & Recovery

The best way to recover from IT outages is to prevent them from happening. However, many IT departments are unprepared to proactively reduce the risk of downtime. Planning, preparation, and monitoring are three activities that IT staff can execute to mitigate disasters.

The best way to approach the planning process is to assume an outage will happen. A thorough response plan includes who is responsible for carrying out specific tasks. The details of the plan should also include processes for different scenarios. A solid process will identify which individuals to engage and under what circumstances they need to become involved. If you do not have processes for escalations, root causes, communication flows, and resolutions, you must start.

Preparing for downtime can take several weeks or months of analysis. Begin by identifying the types and frequencies of outages that occur in your organization. Is there any aging equipment that is likely to fail in the next six months to a year? If so, replacement should become a priority. The replacement process could involve some research, testing, and the engagement of several vendors.

Using monitoring tools for your network and infrastructure can identify potential problems before they occur. Sophisticated tools can help you determine single points that have failed or are about to fail. Identifying these points can enable you and your staff in launching a proactive response. Your department will be able to mitigate these failures and issues before they become a disaster. Industry experts recommend using a single, integrated monitoring solution. This reduces the chances of reporting errors and increases efficiency.

While prevention is not a 100% guarantee against downtime, it can make a significant difference. As availability becomes increasingly important, reducing the number of repeat outages will ensure clients remain happy. Planning to plan, prepare, and monitor are three important measures you can take towards improving your network's availability.