Downtime Prevention: Proactive Measures for Smooth Operations

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For businesses of all sizes across different industries, downtime is a serious IT issue. When systems are down, productivity goes down. Downtime can also prevent you from providing services to clients and reaching new customers. Which can result in a massive loss of revenue and customer trust. According to a 2023 report by Siemens, unplanned downtime resulted in an 11% yearly turnover, or nearly a $1.5 trillion loss, for Fortune 500 companies.  

Given the massive financial impact of downtime, it pays to take proactive measures that ensure you minimize, if not eliminate, downtime. In this article, we offer practical solutions you can implement to prevent downtime.

How to prevent downtime

Here are proactive measures you can take to minimize downtime:

Regular updates 

Regularly updating all operating systems, hardware, and applications is one of the best ways to prevent unplanned downtime that may be caused by hardware or software failure. In addition, regular updates help address potential security threats and vulnerabilities, and ensure optimal performance and compatibility. Notably, hardware and software each require specific approaches when it comes to updating: 

  • Hardware: Do not wait until a device is nearing its expected obsolescence. It’s best to replace hardware and components as soon as they show signs of wear and start to affect system performance. The cost of a downtime event is likely to exceed the expense of replacing outdated hardware and components.  
  • Software: Regularly updating software is crucial in preventing downtime for several reasons. First, software updates often include security patches that protect systems from various cyberthreats, reducing the risk of data breaches and system failures. Additionally, updates help address bugs and glitches, enhancing the overall stability and performance of the software. By staying current with software updates, you can ensure that your systems are resilient, secure, and capable of delivering optimal performance, minimizing the potential for costly downtime events. 

Whether for hardware or software, schedule updates during off-hours as much as possible to minimize disruption to operations.

Constant infrastructure testing

Regularly test your servers, hardware, and software for proper functionality. Conduct stress tests to push your systems to their limits and evaluate how much traffic your web applications and servers can handle before slowing down. Such testing will help you identify and address weak points in your IT infrastructure, enhancing system performance. 

Establish data backups and recovery procedures

Unfortunately, despite implementing preventive measures, unplanned downtime will occur, whether due to cyberattacks or natural disasters such as fire or flooding. To minimize downtime brought on by such situations, you need to have virtual disaster recovery consisting of data backups and recovery procedures.

Data backups refer to copies of your data that are stored in either a secure cloud server or a physical storage device that is kept separate from the rest of your infrastructure. From these backups, you can restore your systems far more quickly than from scratch. Recovery procedures determine which data is replicated, the frequency of replication, and the efficient restoration of your system using backups.

Ensure IT infrastructure scalability

If your business is expanding but your IT infrastructure struggles to keep pace, your IT resources may be stretched, leading to potential hardware or software failures and subsequent downtime. Design your IT infrastructure to be scalable, allowing it to accommodate business growth. Where possible, consider implementing cloud computing solutions for nearly unlimited capacity and easily adjustable systems. If cloud solutions are not feasible due to regulation requirements or any other reason, consider hardware designed with scalability in mind.  

Fortify your cybersecurity

Implement mechanisms such as firewalls and blacklists to deter attackers. Firewalls prevent unwanted and malicious programs from entering your networks through the internet. Blacklists block access to websites, IP addresses, and emails known to host malware programs or suspicious activity. Furthermore, consider implementing endpoint protection measures, such as intrusion detection systems that monitor for cyberthreats attempting to infiltrate your network through internet-connected devices. 

Train your staff

Conduct regular training sessions for your staff and make sure to assess how well they follow proper procedures and precautions, helping them avoid mistakes that can cause downtime. You can also educate your employees on how to recognize spam and phishing attempts, which are used to infect networks with ransomware and other malware capable of disrupting operations across an organization.     

Learn more about how you can prevent unplanned downtime and maintain productivity by speaking with a Liberty Center One expert. Liberty specializes in creating high-availability data center and cloud environments for a variety of businesses from SMB to enterprise. Contact us today.