IT downtime poses a significant threat to all businesses in the digital age. If your company’s servers and systems are disrupted, you may experience costly damages due to lost sales, reduced productivity, and reputational damage.
Understanding the reasons behind downtime can help you minimise its occurrence. Read on to learn more about the major causes of downtime and how to prevent them.
What is server downtime?
Server downtime is when your business’ web services are inaccessible to web application visitors. It prevents your website or application from fully loading and causes them to be unresponsive. As a result, users cannot use your website or application as intended.
All businesses inevitably experience server downtime. However, the good news is that minimising these occurrences and lessening their damage is possible.
1. Human error
One of the most significant causes of server downtime is human error. This may result from common mistakes such as adjusting the server room’s temperature, unplugging power cords, or neglecting to monitor server capacity.
Employees ignoring protocol or standard procedure may also have detrimental effects.
While human error cannot be completely eliminated, there are several steps your company can take to lessen them. This includes:
- Continually monitoring and assessing employees, ensuring they are up-to-date with the latest updates and cybersecurity challenges.
- Implement secure access policies.
- Document each task step-by-step to ensure that all employees follow the standard procedure.
2. Cyberattacks and security flaws
The ubiquity of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices means that cybercriminals have many entry points from which they can infiltrate your IT system. Cybercriminals can steal your data, block access to critical assets, and shut down applications if they are not well secured. They may also launch denial-of-service attacks that result in costly downtime.
The best way to prevent cyberattacks is to adopt a proactive security strategy. This includes:
- Perform regular assessments and tests to identify weaknesses in your IT system and patch them up before they are exploited.
- Use firewalls and antivirus programs.
- Monitor suspicious activities by implementing an endpoint detection and response solution.
3. Understaffed IT department
Numerous tasks constantly need to be performed to maintain your organisation’s network, servers, and applications. However, if there are insufficient IT employees to monitor and manage updates, your system may experience disruptions.
Therefore, it is crucial that you have a dedicated team to manage your IT needs. If employing more employees is not within budget, consider partnering with a trusted Managed Service Provider (MSP) that provides 24/7 monitoring and maintenance.
4. Hardware failure
Hardware failure may result from old age. If your company’s hardware is old, you are likely to experience problems such as network congestion, performance bottlenecks, and an inability to execute complex applications. Therefore, it is essential to upgrade old machines.
However, equipment may sometimes fail for other reasons. For example, buggy upgrades and power supply glitches can lead to unexpected downtime.
One way to minimise hardware failure is to perform 24/7 network monitoring. Opting for cloud solutions, which act as backup, is also beneficial. This allows your business to continue running even when physical hardware is out of commission.
5. Software failure
Software failure may occur when operating systems are updated without proper testing. Your organisation’s business applications may not be compatible with the newly updated operating system, causing the server to fail.
The most effective way to prevent software failure is to test and debug new features in a pilot network before fully deploying them.
IT downtime can significantly affect the business’ productivity and performance. While downtime cannot be fully guarded against, there are several steps you can take to minimise their occurrences.