Every business needs to prioritize IT system uptime, maximizing internal productivity, uptime for customers, and more. But what actionable steps can you take to actually improve your IT system uptime?
The Value of Uptime
Uptime is a measure of the time during which a computer or service is online and available to the person who needs it. During periods of downtime, your equipment isn’t functioning properly; depending on the context, that could mean that your employees are unable to work, that your customers are unable to use your services, or both.
The average company’s downtime costs $5,600 per minute as of 2014, with more recent estimates ballparking the figure at $9,000 per minute. With each passing year, the costs of downtime rise – which means the value of uptime is actively increasing.
How to Improve IT System Uptime
How do you improve your IT system uptime?
1. Start with better systems. First, try to start with better systems in place. Investing in better hardware, incorporating network monitoring and observability tools, and hiring better people can all help you minimize the potential threats of downtime. Your equipment will be much more reliable, you’ll have advance notice of troubling signs, and your best people will be ready and willing to step in when needed.
2. Understand your failure points. Downtime usually unfolds as a result of a specific failure point, so it’s important to understand the most common failure points for your technology – and try to mitigate or address them. For example, when it comes to server hardware, some of the most common failure points are the hard drive, the motherboard, the power source, and problems related to air quality and temperature. If you can keep a close eye on these parameters, and step in before failure occurs, you’ll prevent the majority of downtime problems you’d otherwise face.
3. Prioritize security. One of the most common causes of down time is a security breach. If a cybercriminal takes your entire system hostage with ransomware, or if your services are blocked with a DDoS attack, your computers and services will be unavailable until you resolve the issue. Even if you’re a master of quick resolution, you’re still better off proactively preventing these situations, rather than reactively responding to them.
4. Practice continuous monitoring. Always keep a close eye on your network performance and look out for any abnormalities. Do you notice a performance drop associated with certain variables? Do you notice an aberrant pattern of traffic that could be a signal of a forthcoming attack?
5. Inspect and maintain your systems regularly. Similarly, it’s important to keep tabs on the structural integrity and performance of your systems. When you notice any components failing, it’s important to replace them proactively. Routine system maintenance can prevent countless issues.
6. Keep everything up to date. This is a simple step, but it’s still worth mentioning. Make sure all your systems remain up to date. Automatic updates are your best friend here.
7. Educate and empower individual employees. Finally, understand that it’s not just your IT department that should be responsible for maintaining functional equipment. Educate and empower individual employees within your organization to follow best practices for equipment maintenance, equipment care, and cybersecurity. When each individual in your organization has the knowledge and motivation to prevent issues, downtime becomes significantly rarer.
8. Create consistent backups. Create consistent data and system backups for your organization. In the event your equipment is destroyed and your data is lost, or in the event of a ransomware attack that jeopardizes your data, you won’t have to worry about a total loss; you’ll be able to restore your systems back to normal as soon as you resolve the issue.
9. Proactively prepare restoration and remediation processes. Along with this, you should proactively prepare restoration and remediation processes, so you have a quick and easy path to restoring your data and systems if and when necessary. This should be designed to be as expedient as possible.
10. Hire professionals. Hire the most talented, experienced people you can afford in your IT department. Even if they only prevent a few hours of downtime every year, they’ll probably pay for themselves. Additionally, consider hiring a third party for consulting and supportive services, so you can be absolutely sure you’re maximizing uptime.
With these strategies in place, you should be in a much better position to maximize your IT system up time. It’s almost impossible to create a system or department with 100 percent uptime, but at the same time, a figure like 99 percent uptime is unacceptable, given the costs associated with downtime.
Strive for 99.9 percent or better yet, 99.99 percent uptime, making improvements until you get there.
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