What is the true cost of downtime?

When your systems are unavailable and the applications that your users are not accessible most business leaders suffer from a cold sweat and sick feeling in their stomach. HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE GOING TO BE DOWN! Do you know how long you would be down if your systems failed? What is impacted? What would it cost your business?

This is a tough question to answer and certainly could vary from industry to industry and specific seasons of certain types of industries. For instance the cost of downtime for a Tax or CPA firm during the first quarter of the year will be drastically higher than the cost during the third quarter (in most cases). There are other costs that are hard to see… for instance if your clients are delayed in getting back their tax returns or if you can’t service them because your systems are down for several days that client is very likely to search out a different provider.

There is also the cost of poor image, this is the worst in most cases. For instance with a security breach some users of your system or service will seek out another provider out of fear that your system isn’t secure. This is more likely with your high profile clients, the top 10 clients in most cases. What would happen if you lost your top 10%-20% of your clients because of a result of a security breach or system outage for a prolonged period of time?

Then there is the cost of employees sitting idle waiting for the system to come online, loss of billing hours, the cost of possible overtime hours to enter in the data from the back log that accumulated during the outage, etc. You are also likely to incur some negative moral… I know how I would feel if I were required to work longer than expected hours because the firm I worked for didn’t make investments to prevent outages or have a plan to survive an outage.

Don’t roll the dice… hoping and praying only goes so far. Know what your downtime will be and make necessary investments to prevent them. Protect your image and your business and get proactive.

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