Nobody in business likes to think that their IT system will ever go down or be offline. Unfortunately, closer to the truth is that network outages do occur and can sometimes be very costly. Recent statistics from Gartner, the Stamford-based technological research and consulting company, reveal that the average cost of IT downtime is about £4,000 per minute and 98% of businesses claim that a single hour of downtime costs over £80,000. And sometimes losses can go into millions. Take a look at these eye-opening numbers that are by no means small potatoes:

  • In 2015, Apple lost $25 million when the Apple Store was offline for 12 hours
  • In 2016, 5 hours of downtime cost Delta Airlines about $150 million
  • In 2019, Facebook was offline for 14 hours costing the social media giant $90 million in lost revenue


Put simply, IT downtime occurs when your network, connected devices or website cannot complete their primary functions. It is typically classified as either a

  • brownout – this is when a system operates slowly or is only partially available
  • outage – this is when your IT is completely unavailable

A common mistake made by many of us is the notion that IT downtime means a full system outage from a power cut or a server that isn’t working. This isn’t entirely true. Brownouts happen all the time and slow-loading web pages, under-performing apps and an unstable internet connection can negatively impact your productivity and profitability, sometimes without you even knowing. But IT outages are a real problem. A case in point is the downtime that occurred at Meta, formerly Facebook, last year. Besides all of its flagship services being unavailable, internal systems were unavailable – employees couldn’t even use their keycards to get into the building. Meta’s stock also plummeted and Zuckerberg’s net worth took a fall of $6 billion in a single day.


Probably the first cause of downtime that will spring to mind is a cyberattack, usually ransomware. In March, a survey of 6,200 companies confirmed that 36% of these had experienced downtime as a consequence of cybercrime. But bad actors aren’t the only threat. The same survey showed that of the downtime events reported these factors were also culprits:

  • system crashes – 52%
  • human error – 42%
  • insider attack – 20%

IT downtime can also result from software and hardware failure and natural disasters.


Loss of revenue from downtime, both short-term and in the long run, is stating the obvious. But brownouts and IT outages can have some far-reaching effects that you would never imagine. In the words of Gadi Oren, a London-based entrepreneur:

“IT availability has become one of the business world’s most valuable commodities, but also the most difficult to maintain. Organizations today are increasingly dependent on the availability of their IT infrastructure. A single IT outage can have huge negative business impacts including lost revenue and compliance failure, as well as decreased customer satisfaction and a tarnished brand reputation.”


And Oren has hit the nail on the head. IT downtime causes measurable costs such as a loss of productivity, the need to hire additional employees, payment of penalties due to breaking a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and GDPR non-compliance. If the impact of the downtime on customers is sufficiently severe, organisations may even face lawsuits, especially those in regulated industries.


The unmeasurable costs of downtime are intangible and cannot be quantified. It may impact employee morale or put a damper on the progress of projects. But one of the most serious effects of downtime is damage to your company’s reputation, whether you are selling goods or are a service provider. After a prolonged outage, some of your customers may leave you for good and write scathing reviews on Google or Trustpilot. Negative reviews on social media or via word of mouth can spread like wildfire and your brand reputation will suffer irreparable damage. In extreme cases, a business may even be forced to close down.


While you can never guarantee that you won’t have a brownout or IT outage, you should always have solutions and contingency plans in place to deal with the worst-case scenario. I have over 20 years of experience in professional business IT management and my mission in life is to keep your data, and by extension, your business, safe and secure. Together, we can create a Business Continuity (BC) plan that will ensure that should downtime strike, you will experience minimal disruption to operations. Your BC will include:

  • making multiple data backups
  • identifying IT vulnerabilities before they become problematic
  • creating a recovery plan
  • ensuring that your customers stay in the loop

So you don’t need to let the worries of downtime get you down. Get in touch today and together we’ll make sure that you are always online, doing business as usual, and enjoying the fruits of your hard work.

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