• Put A Plan In Place For Business Downtime

Put A Plan In Place For Business Downtime

How incident-proof is your business? Do you have strategies in place to deal with issues that could arise and cost you money, or worse still, clients? What does your disaster recovery plan look like? Nowadays, we tend to think of business downtime as a term solely used when IT is out of action, but business downtime can result from a myriad of factors from freak weather events to staff illness. Do you know how you’d deal with these problems in your business? Or how much failing to do so could cost you? Let’s take a look.

Be aware of the cost

How much would it cost your business if all your staff had to down tools for an hour? Not quite sure? According to a research paper by Megapath, on average, small businesses stand to lose $12,500 per hour when servers go down. But if you’re not quite sure what the impact would be for your business, you’re not alone. Forrester Research found that most organizations still struggle to calculate the potential cost. Their research showed that 57% of businesses fail to calculate the financial impact of downtime. As the old adage goes, to be informed is to be prepared.

Skills sharing

Skill sharing is an important part of staff development, but it also has implications for downtime too. All too often, businesses rely on individual staff members to perform particular tasks or work with certain systems and processes. This can often be the case when it comes to legacy systems that haven’t been replaced and require in-depth knowledge for operation. Failure to update them or to educate the wider team on how to handle systems or tasks that are intrinsic to your business could leave you very vulnerable. What happens if the one person who knows how to do something becomes sick or leaves the company suddenly? Don’t wait for this type of situation to creep up on your before you take action. Regularly evaluate the lifespan of the systems you are working with and take steps to facilitate essential skills sharing so that you’re better prepared.

Trusted repair partners

Do you have solid SLAs in place for hired equipment and services? What about your business owned tools and kit like laptops and smartphones? Even if you have alternatives available, simply being unfamiliar with a different setup or not being able to access all contacts and files can slow down staff productivity. Employees can often get caught up trying to fix the issue themselves, which can lead to frustration, not to mention the potential for further damage. Make sure you have trusted repair partners in place for all of your office essentials such as IT repairs, which are covered by firms such as FloridaPro who specialise in the repair of Mac devices. Remember: it’s not just equipment that staff use to do their jobs that can impact on productivity, a broken coffee machine can have a real negative impact on the office too!

Home working policies

What would happen if there was a fire or flood at your premises? Hopefully, you should have insurance in place to rectify the damage and perhaps to cover the cost of hiring somewhere else in the interim. But that’s unlikely to provide an instant solution. Even if you don’t offer the option of home working as standard (and 77% of US businesses don’t allow the perk on a full-time basis), it’s something you should explore for implementation should a disaster occur.

Whether you’re plagued by snow storms that mean some colleagues can’t make it into the office or your heating system is broken, meaning staff would be more comfortable at home, sometimes homeworking is the option that means downtime doesn’t happen.

Put a home working policy in place for when disaster occurs and ensure it contains clear information on everything from expected communication levels to how to access work platforms at home. If your office network is the only place you can access files, this isn’t going to work. Most companies have used some degree of cloud computing resource now, do your staff know how to access their work safely and securely when working remotely? And do those integral legacy systems communicate with your cloud systems? Now’s the time to check.

As things stand, how prepared would your business be should an IT disaster strike or a key player leave your business? Is it time you put a plan in place?

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