A little downtime might have come as a reprieve for teams competing in World Cup extra time, but for IT networks, downtime is typically an unwanted, unpleasant occurrence. Unexpected downtime in particular can be extraordinarily detrimental to an organization, causing data loss, halts in productivity, and demand for IT time and effort.
Companies might be aware of the challenges they'll face should an outage strike their systems. However, as Paul Burns, national technical director of IT support firm TSG, told TechRadar, the consequences of downtime and the long-term business impact can be far more significant than most firms anticipate—forming a "domino effect" that could even cripple an organization. He mentioned a number of extensive outcomes that can hinder profitability and success even after the system is up and running again:
- Interrupted orders and deliveries. Even simple issues, such as database corruption, could halt new orders from going through or deliveries from being carried out.
- Extensive backlogs. Once your team starts to fall behind because employees can't access the programs and information they need, it can several days to fully recover and catch up.
- Lost customers. Particularly if consumers are promised rapid delivery or service, halts in operations can cause them to lose confidence and take their business elsewhere, perhaps permanently. Sales teams and other roles might also lose out on leads for new clients.
- Damaged brand reputation. This consequence can be "far greater than the immediate financial loss," according to Burns. Customers may even express dissatisfaction through social media channels, exacerbating the problem.
Burns noted that these consequences can take months or even years to completely recover from.
Addressing similar concerns, TechRepublic emphasized the importance of business continuity plans in addition to disaster recovery solutions. Many companies fall short in this regard because they don't want to allocate the necessary time and personnel to develop plans and conduct practice exercises. However, as Burns illuminated, falling short in this regard can have disastrous consequences for the longevity of the enterprise.
For organizations that require consistent, dependable access to their mission-critical data and resources, high availability system configurations could be a major asset. This option utilizes multiple servers that are always active to drastically reduce the chance of a downtime and provide reliable availability even when the unexpected occurs. Globalscape's managed file transfer solution offers high availability deployments that use active-active configurations and horizontal scalability to facilitate the most strict uptime requirements.