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The High Cost of IT Downtime and How to Minimize It

IT equipment failure is inevitable. Like any mechanical system with moving parts, tech gear will eventually deteriorate from repeated use. Given our increased reliance on IT infrastructure and the ever-rising costs of downtime, it is important to watch for the warning signs of equipment failure and have a plan for how to deal with these events.

The maximum lifespan for IT equipment such as servers, storage arrays, switches and routers is roughly five to seven years, although that can vary significantly depending on the particular conditions and environment. When aging gear begins to require frequent maintenance, it could signal an imminent failure that could threaten operations.

Industry studies find that aging IT systems dramatically increases an organization’s risk of an outage. This can result in significant costs from downtime, lost productivity, diminished security, damaged reputation and more.

Computing Costs

According to the Uptime Institute, 70 percent of data center outages cost $100,000 or more, with 25 percent costing $1 million or more. Those numbers may not accurately reflect the costs for smaller organizations with much smaller IT environments. But they do illustrate the damaging consequences of IT downtime on any organization.

While an outage might not cost you $100,000, you will definitely be losing money if customers can’t reach you, your website is offline and you can’t process orders. There are productivity costs involved when your employees can’t work, not to mention intangible costs such as damage to your company’s reputation and lost opportunities.

Those costs might be somewhat hard to quantify, but there are verifiable costs involved with fixing the problem. Beyond getting your systems up and running again, there are also the costs of recovering data.

Warning Signs

The Uptime Institute study also found that 60 percent of organizations experienced an outage in the preceding three years. One-third of those outages were significant, serious or severe. To limit risk, follow the adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nobody wants to write off IT equipment that is still working properly. However, recognizing potential problems and mitigating them before a failure can do wonders for IT reliability.

Any gear that has reached or is nearing end of vendor support is an obvious candidate for replacement. Once the vendor support ends, you’ll bear the full financial burden of maintenance. It will become difficult to find spare parts, and capacity and efficiency will become growing issues.

Random crashes, file system issues and command-line freezes could indicate that a server failure is imminent. Read/write failures and sector corruptions are signs that a disk drive is failing. Performance problems, dropped connections, error messages and unusual behavior are indicators that a network switch or router is not functioning properly.

How IronLogix Can Help

Not all problems can be prevented, but an experienced managed services provider such as IronLogix can limit your risk. When you work with us, you get a team of experts who will monitor the health of your IT systems and perform regular maintenance. If we detect problems that indicate a device is failing, we will alert you and provide objective recommendations.

If the device is still under warranty, it may make sense to have it repaired. If it’s nearing end of life or isn’t meeting your business needs, replacing it may make more sense. We’ll present you with several options at various price points so you can make the best decision for your organization.

If you decide to upgrade, we will assist you through that process. Our goal is to ensure that your technology is supporting your operations and to minimize the risk of downtime and disruption.

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