Politics and Business

5 Main Causes Of Business Downtime

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Unforeseen disasters can temporarily shut down a business. This period of temporary closure is known as downtime and it can be very damaging to a company’s finances and reputation. There are many disasters that can lead to downtime. Here are just five major causes and how you can safeguard against them.

IT issues

Nowadays, most companies rely on computers and software to operate. When this IT fails, it can prevent a company from being able to operate, resulting in downtime.

Not all IT issues are serious, however without knowledge on how to deal with them they can be debilitating. This list of the top 10 most common IT support issues gives information on some of the most frequent faults and how to deal with them. Training your staff to deal with these could prevent downtime.

In most cases, the best defence is to have an IT technician either in house or on call. Outsourcing IT support is often cheaper than hiring in house staff – such outsourced companies can be granted access to your computer allowing them to fix bugs and glitches remotely.

Of course, you can prevent many software problems from occurring in the first place by investing in reliable software. By reading reviews, you can ensure that the programs you’re using are dependable. Ensuring that software is updated and that your machines are shut down properly can also prevent faults such as software corruption.

IT issues can also be down to hardware. Investing in good quality computers and knowing when to replace them (usually after five years) can prevent hardware faults from occurring. It’s worth also investing in a good quality wi-fi service and router – a lack of internet connection can also result in downtime.

Broken equipment   

Computers aren’t the only equipment that your company may depend on in order to function. There could be other equipment that could be necessary for your business – if this breaks, you could experience downtime. This could include an oven breaking in a restaurant kitchen or a tree surgeon’s chainsaw failing.

Buying reliable equipment may be able to prevent faults. You can judge the reliability of equipment by reading reviews beforehand and buying equipment from reputable sources.

Maintaining and servicing equipment could also be a way of preventing damage. Keeping track of wear and tear could also warn you as to when to replace tools – this could allow you to buy a replacement before your equipment completely fails, so that you can then switch to your new equipment without any downtime.

In the case of certain relatively inexpensive equipment, you may even be able to buy spares such as a spare printer in an office or a spare wrench in a toolbox. If one item of equipment breaks, you can then switch to your spare and ensure continuity.

Power outages

Power cuts can also temporarily shut down a business. Almost all modern businesses rely on electricity to function and without power it could be impossible to use machinery. Some machinery could even cause serious financial damage without power – for instance, if a restaurant freezer has no power, all the food within could defrost and then have to be thrown away.

The source of a power cut could be out of your company’s control – it could be due to power line damage or a power station fault. As a result, the best way to guard against power outages is to invest in a backup power source. This could be a petrol generator or a renewable power source such as a solar generator. This guide to buying a commercial backup generator could be worth reading if you don’t already have a backup generator.

Bad weather/natural disaster

Bad weather and natural disaster can also be a cause of downtime. This can range from something mild such as heavy snow preventing people from getting to work to something more serious such as a flood destroying a company’s premises and equipment. In the latter case, such damage may be so great that a company is unable to recover at all.

Natural disasters can sometimes be guarded against. If your business is based in a high risk flood zone, investing in anti-flood measures could help to prevent floodwater damaging your premises and equipment.

Using the cloud could also help to ensure business continuity by allowing important information to be backed up remotely. If your computers are destroyed, this means that you can still access important data and rebuild your business. In the case of bad weather preventing employees from commuting to work, the cloud can also allow employees to continue work from home.

Burglary/cybercrime

Theft of business funds, equipment or data can also lead to downtime. This could include physical burglary or cybertheft. Without these important resources, you could find that you’re unable to operate.

The most obvious way to guard against this form of downtime is to make business security a priority. Small businesses are often targeted by thieves because they’re most likely to have inadequate security measures in place. Simply having security in place could be a deterrence even if it never has to come into use.

There are lots of forms of physical security. Installing a burglar alarm could help to prevent break-ins into your premises. Security cameras and motion-sensing lighting meanwhile can be useful deterrences, making it harder for burglars to break into your company unseen.

When it comes to digital security meanwhile, having robust antivirus software in place is a must. You should also ensure that passwords are consistently strong – this guide How To Create A Strong Password (And Remember It) could be worth a read. Backing up all data on the cloud is also important – if important data is stolen it could prevent your business from being able to operate.

You should put security protocol in place and ensure that all your employees are trained in this. Such protocol could involve teaching key employees how to set and deactivated the burglar alarm or warning employees against opening certain suspicious emails.

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