Unscheduled downtime can be devastating to businesses. One staggering estimate reported by ServerCloud Canada is that downtime costs Canadian and U.S. businesses just under $5,600 a minute. Factor in that the average reported incident length was 90 minutes, and you are looking at a loss of $505,500. Depending on the nature of the outage, businesses also could be facing lost revenue and costly repairs. Since we live in a world where instant gratification is the norm, it’s not surprising that consumers will look elsewhere if they try to make a purchase and your website is offline.
There are other times when downtime is the result of something more malicious – a security breach. When this happens, there may be reduced consumer confidence as well as hefty legal fees if compliance requirements were not met. To tackle these challenges before they occur, savvy organizations partner with IT providers who take a proactive approach to deal with IT downtime.
Yet not all IT providers are created equal. Here are a few things your IT provider should be doing to help minimize or eliminate downtime:
#1. Establish an Ongoing Relationship
A huge red flag to be wary of when selecting a potential technology provider is a company that’s trying to sell you a single product that promises to be the answer to all IT-related challenges. A dependable IT provider should not have a one-size-fits-all solution. They should be a provider that wants to have an ongoing relationship with your organization.
They should take the time to get to know what you need now and be willing to alter their strategy in the future as you grow. Business technology is a continually evolving field where new challenges appear all the time, and the IT provider you select should understand that.
#2. Network Assessments
The first step in preventing a disaster is thoroughly understanding where you are. Your IT provider should offer network audits as well as in-person consultations regularly. These will determine your network’s current health and ensure you’re getting the service that you need and that you are paying for. This understanding of your networks and systems will pay dividends if you do experience downtime because it will enable a quicker response time.
#3. 24/7 Monitoring
One of the most basic services that managed service providers (MSPs) offer is round-the-clock monitoring. This much-needed practice is the opposite of traditional IT support. Instead of waiting for a client to notice that there’s an issue with a mission-critical system, this type of proactive monitoring watches your systems for you. Your IT provider will thus know about any problems in real-time, which could be in the middle of the night or on a weekend when your staff is gone. In theory, this allows your MSP to address the issue quickly, often before your team realizes that anything is wrong.
#4. Disaster Recovery Planning
Unexpected IT downtime can be a result of any number of issues. Whether it’s an upgrade or migration that didn’t work as planned, a severe data breach, or just an employee error, a knowledgeable IT provider will have a Plan B in place for virtually any contingency.
Disaster recovery planning should be a fundamental part of your IT strategy, which is why it’s an important service your technology partner should provide. Your service provider should be able to keep disruptions to a minimum if they have redundant systems in place to use as a backup if the primary system fails.
#5. Staying on Top of Updates
Every responsible software developer provides clients with regular updates that patch vulnerabilities, add needed features, boost compatibility, and improve performance. There is both an art and a science to effectively managing these updates, and that is a critical service your IT provider should be performing.
If you’re using cloud-hosted software, your IT service provider’s life should be much easier. However, they should not be blindly hitting the update button. They should have an understanding of how updates will impact your business and allow you to defer updates that might disrupt your business without proper preparation. On the other hand, security-related updates should be installed as soon as they become available to minimize risk.
#6. Proactive Security
This leads to our next must-have: Proactive Security. Cyberattacks remain one of the most common causes of downtime. One of the most pervasive and increasing threats is distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These overload a server with requests until it slows to a crawl or stops working entirely. Unfortunately, these attacks increased 75% in Q4 2021, according to the latest report from Cloudflare.
Other common problems are malware or data breaches. In the most severe cases, a data breach might lead to all your systems being taken offline until your team discovers the vulnerability and repairs it. By taking proactive security measures to stop threats before they impact your network, your IT provider can avert both downtime and potentially disastrous consequences.
Dyrand takes care of your IT so you don’t have to. We offer businesses in the US and Canada the tools they need to eliminate downtime and maximize productivity every day of the year. Call us today to talk to one of our experts.