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November 20, 2017

Unknown IT downtime costs leave businesses forking out £1 million an hour

Organisations can find themselves paying out £50,000, with some up to and over £1 million per hour.

By April Slattery

Cyber-attacks and hardware failures are the biggest causes bringing IT systems down for organisations, with research revealing many do not realise the cost this downtime brings.

Over the last year 46% of organisations admitted they have suffered from unplanned IT downtime, as a result of cyber-attacks and faulty hardware leaving them with a hefty bill to restart and fix their systems, research from Databarracks found.

The survey found that a third (35%) of organisations are not sure what the cost of IT downtime is bringing to their organisation, paying above and beyond what many would expect.

For businesses to reduce their IT downtime they must recover quickly, which comes at a high price with survey findings revealing that common challenges preventing businesses from improving recovery speed include large financial constraints.

The largest cost per hour from some large organisations amounted to £50,000, with some paying up to and over £1million per hour.

Peter Groucutt, Managing Director at Databarracks said: “Our survey data showed that the most significant challenge when trying to im

Unknown IT downtime costs leave businesses forking out £1 million an hour

Unplanned downtime is costing businesses millions.

prove recovery speed was ‘financial constraints’.

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“It will always be difficult to secure budget for IT resilience if you can’t show the board a clear picture of the impact downtime will have. Presenting a downtime cost immediately puts the cost of investment into context and will help IT departments make the improvements they need.”

Databarracks research found that the biggest causes of IT downtime for organisations remained around hardware failure and connectivity issues.

Cyber-attacks have been a common fixture among businesses and a cause for many organisations systems being down, with 31% of those surveyed admitting they have been victim to some sort of cyber threat at some point in the last year.

Although many organisations have admitted to falling victim to some sort of cyber threat, around half of organisations believe they have enough skills to deal with the landscape. However, those that do not will face more costs to bring in expertise to recover from systems down.

Groucutt said: “There are several types of costs that need to be considered when estimating the financial impact of an outage to your organisations. There will be obvious lost revenue, staff costs as well as the associated costs needed for fixing an outage.

“It is important to look beyond these in order to gain a holistic view of the impact an outage will have financial. ‘Hidden’ or intangible costs, such as damage to reputation, can often outweigh the more obvious, immediate costs. The problem with these intangible costs is that because they aren’t easy to estimate, they are often excluded from the calculations.”

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Consequences of IT downtime can be huge for some organisations, affecting smaller organisations for example within an hour as loss of sales could impact them straight away if employees cannot do their jobs.

In order to recover from cyber-attacks and get businesses back up and running, it is essential that organisations have a disaster recovery (DR) system in place. The most important areas companies reported to look at within DR plans include speed of recovery and reliability, over technical support and compliance.

Groucutt said: “The fact that 35% of businesses are unaware what these financial implications are is concerning. Understanding what downtime costs your organisation has is fundamental to making informed decisions on IT resilience, supplier management and continuity planning.”

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