Nothing is more annoying than IT equipment that doesn’t work or devices that run so slowly that they make it hard for you or your staff to get work done.

Both planned and unplanned IT downtime can hurt your business’s finances in a big way.

We understand this.

In fact, this is why we put a lot of effort into proactive management, so that your business has as little downtime as possible. If you can’t work at all or have outages, no matter how bad they are, it can hurt your productivity, customer satisfaction, and, in the worst-case scenario, your brand’s reputation.

But how much does it really cost when IT is down?

If you are putting together a business case for a new IT investment, you may need to think about how any IT downtime will affect your finances. In some situations, it may make sense to put a simple monetary cost on any technical problems. This could help you figure out the possible return on an investment in a new IT system for your business.

But it’s not that easy either.

Let’s look at how you can figure out how much IT downtime really costs.

What is IT downtime?

IT downtime is the official term for the time when a system, device, or core service is not available. These systems could be internal or external, and they could be down for a number of reasons, such as scheduled updates, maintenance, safety precautions, or even sudden outages.

Blog graphic explaining that IT downtime falls into two categories, planned and unplanned. This is something that Lucid Systems in Ipswich can help businesses with.

Most IT downtime falls into one of two categories: planned or unplanned.

Planned IT downtime could happen when you are getting your systems ready for an update. You could be putting in new hardware or software. In which case, you can use scheduled time to manage the inactivity.

As an example, we always do upgrades outside of work hours so that our clients’ day-to-day activities aren’t affected by any downtime.

Unplanned IT downtime is when your systems or servers stop working without warning. It could be because of a mistake inside the company or a global problem. If you use a cloud-based system like Microsoft 365, you could be affected if there is a known error all over the world.

The main problems with unplanned downtime are that you may not be able to control what’s going on, and you may not know when you’ll be back up and running.

Are there any direct, measurable costs relating to IT downtime?

Depending on what sector your business is in, you may be able to make a straight-forward calculation as to how much any IT downtime has cost in financial terms.

What is the financial cost of IT downtime. This explains how you can put a financial figure on the price of IT issues.

A basic calculation is to establish your employee’s hourly rate and multiply that by the time spent inactive.

For example, suppose you have three staff members earning £10.42ph (the national living wage). If each member of staff is unable to work for 2 hours, the calculation would be 3 x 2 = 6 hours of inactivity. 6 x £10.42 = £62.52

Alternatively, if you are a shop and your till systems go offline, your financial calculation would be the loss of earnings during the time that you are offline.

Other financial costs could include the unexpected cost of hiring temporary staff, or paying for overtime to ensure that time lost is caught up.

You may also wish to factor in the cost of any technical debt that could be accumulating.

What about the unmeasurable impact of IT downtime?

Of course, not every effect of IT downtime has such a straight-forward financial calculation.

There are also indirect costs that can hurt your business, like damage to your reputation, less work getting done, and missed business opportunities.

Beyond this, there could be other, harder-to-measure costs, such as the effect on employee morale and job satisfaction, as well as any growing frustrations caused by using equipment that may no longer be up to the job..

Five practical steps to help reduce IT downtime

Graphic outlining five practical steps that businesses in Suffolk can take to reduce any IT downtime according to Lucid Systems in Ipswich

If your business is often affected by downtime, you can take some practical steps, such as:

Regular maintenance and upgrades

Hardware and software both need to be taken care of on a regular basis to avoid problems that could lead to downtime. You should try to get rid of any old technology from your company’s IT systems if you can. This will lower the chance that something will go wrong.

Disaster planning

Having a disaster recovery plan can help a business respond quickly and effectively to IT problems that come up out of the blue. Disaster recovery isn’t just about keeping your computer safe or keeping you safe from physical problems. It’s also about finding ways to keep your business going when you can’t do normal things.

Data backups

Putting in place backup systems and extra hardware and software can help make sure that critical systems will still work even if something goes wrong. With a good backup system, you can get to important files and folders right away.

Employee training

Training your employees regularly can help them understand how to use your IT systems and avoid making common mistakes that can cause downtime.

Monitoring alerts

Using monitoring and alerts can help businesses find problems and deal with them before they get worse. You can deal with any possible problems by checking online for known global outages from companies like Microsoft.

Lucid Systems can proactively manage your IT systems

At Lucid Systems, much of our time is spent on proactive management of corporate IT systems for our clients across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.

We want to protect your business from the harms caused by downtime.

Our role focuses heavily upon prevention.

We make sure that our clients are using the most up-to-date technology and we focus heavily on data backups and data retrieval. If the worst does happen, and you are affected by unplanned downtime, we can find ways for you to carry on working.

Book a no-obligation assessment of your IT systems today.

Our initial audit will outline your strengths and weaknesses. We can make recommendations to protect your business from IT downtime.

Phone 01473 355199 to find out more about our managed IT support services in Ipswich, Colchester and Norwich


Craig Debenham

Managing Director

About The Author

Lucid Systems founder Craig has long-held a passion for IT. Despite originally beginning his career in the finance sector, as the most technically-minded of his colleagues, the operations of the office computer system quickly fell to Craig.

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