As businesses of all sizes grow more reliant on the technology that they use, the concept of uptime is becoming increasingly important. In order to avoid crippling periods of downtime, businesses must make use of the latest IT services and technologies that are designed with maximum uptime in mind.
To help you better understand the immense importance of uptime and what you can do to achieve 99.999 reliability, we’ll take a look at what uptime is, why it is critical, and the steps that can be taken to ensure maximum uptime for your business.
What is Uptime?
Before we can address why uptime is so important, we first need to answer a common question: what does uptime mean? Thankfully, uptime isn’t a difficult concept to understand. Uptime is simply a measure of how many minutes per year a business is able to remain “online”. For example, if a business is unable to function for a six-hour period because of an internet malfunction that takes their website offline, those six hours would be subtracted from the business’s total uptime for the year. Of course, this is just one example of how uptime can be decreased — and there are many pitfalls that businesses must prevent if they want to ensure maximum uptime.
Rather than measuring uptime directly, most businesses calculate their downtime. Downtime is a measure of how many minutes per year that a business is taken offline or otherwise rendered unable to function. Both downtime and uptime can be expressed in a “minutes per year” format or as a percentage. For instance, if a business was offline for .1% of the total minutes in the year, it could be said that the business achieved 99.9% uptime for that year.
While this may sound impressive, the reality is that .1% downtime is an unacceptable percentage for most businesses. In order to avoid the consequences of downtime, an uptime of at least 99.99% is desirable.
Why is Uptime Important?
The cost and consequences of downtime are the reason why uptime is so essential. Even small periods of downtime can be devastating to businesses in a number of ways. Consider the fact that when Amazon experienced one hour of downtime in July 2018, it cost them an estimated $99 million. While Amazon is no doubt a massive corporation, smaller companies are not immune to the consequences of downtime either; the average cost of downtime across businesses of all sizes and all industries is around $5,600 per minute.
So why is downtime so costly? It turns out that there are a number of reasons why businesses tend to rack up losses for every minute that they are offline.
The first and arguably most impactful reason why uptime is so costly has to do with lost customers. When a business is experiencing downtime, they aren’t able to provide service to their customers. For example, if a business is selling products online and their website goes down, any customer attempting to access that website will receive an error message and won’t be able to purchase the product(s) they were shopping for.
On the whole, customers aren’t typically all that patient, and even a business’s loyal customers may be tempted to shop elsewhere if the business is not able to provide service to them in a timely manner. Once gone, many of these customers may never come back. This lost income is the biggest expense associated with downtime. However, it isn’t the only expense that downtime results in.
In addition to losing customers, a business experiencing downtime may suffer from a loss of productivity as well. When a business is rendered inoperable, not only is it unable to provide service to its customers, it is also often times unable to function internally. Employees whose jobs are reliant on the business’s technology won’t be able to work if that technology is down. This means that, for every minute of downtime that your business experiences, you are having to pay a large portion of your employees to do nothing more than twiddle their thumbs. What’s worse is the fact that any goals or timelines that your business has in place may have to be pushed back if a period of downtime throws your employees significantly off schedule.
How Does It Affect My Business?
Another consequence of downtime is reputation damage. In the 21st century, customers have high expectations for the companies that they choose to do business with. No matter what product or service a customer happens to be in the market for, there’s a good chance that they will have numerous companies to choose from that are willing to provide that product or service. With so many options available, even a minor mishap could cause a customer to lose faith in a company and take their business elsewhere.
When a customer chooses a company, they want to know that they are working with an entirely professional and capable organization. Receiving an error message when they try to visit the company’s website or having an employee tell the customer that they won’t be able to help them at the moment when they call in does not boost the customer’s confidence that they are working with a professional and capable organization. This damage to a business’s reputation that downtime causes can be long-lasting. It can cause once-loyal customers to switch to their loyalties for good, damage word of mouth marketing, lead to negative reviews online, and more.
Finally, there are direct expenses associated with downtime as well. If your business goes offline and you aren’t able to immediately fix the problem, you may end up having to hire an outside IT service to come in, find the issue, and bring your business back online. This service isn’t always cheap, and it’s just one more way that downtime directly affects the bottom line of a business.
Given that the consequences of downtime are so costly, it’s easy to understand why achieving near perfect uptime is so important. Keep in mind that even a few hours of downtime is able to lead to all of the expenses outlined above. In order to completely avoid all of the costs and consequences associated with downtime, businesses need to be aiming for an uptime of at least 99.99%.
How to Achieve 99.99% Uptime
If your business relies on on-site servers, achieving near-perfect uptime may be a real struggle, as there are many pitfalls that you must prevent when you are responsible for maintaining your own servers. Everything from human error to security breaches to power outages and natural disasters can end up taking your servers offline, and these are all things that you have to protect against when your servers are stored on-site. While it is certainly possible to achieve 99.99% uptime while storing your servers on-site, preventing downtime is much easier when you make use of data colocation.
Data colocation services enable you to store your business’s servers within a data center, as opposed to storing them on-site. This transfers many of the responsibilities associated with keeping those servers online to the data center. Thankfully, modern data centers are much more capable of maintaining servers and keeping them online than even large corporations, which is why even some of the largest companies in the world still choose to rely on data colocation rather than storing their servers on-site.
Perfect reliability is one of the main selling points of data colocation, and data colocation service providers work hard to ensure maximum uptime for every server that is stored in their data center. This is done through backup power supplies, temperature control, exhaustive physical and cybersecurity, fortification against natural disasters, and more.
Given how much more reliable data colocation is, you may be surprised to learn that storing your servers within a third-party data center is usually more affordable than storing them on-site as well. This is true even if you discount the expenses that downtime leads to. By leveraging the economy of scale, data colocation service providers are able to provide their service at a price point that is often much more affordable than the expenses a company would incur if they tried to perform the same service for themselves.
If you are concerned about maintaining maximum uptime for your business, data colocation is an excellent option to consider. In fact, data colocation is perhaps the only affordable option for small to medium-sized businesses when it comes to guaranteeing at least 99.99% reliability, and it is often times the most affordable and effective option for large corporations as well.
At a time when many companies are almost completely reliant on their technology in order to function, having that technology go offline for even a short period of time can be incredibly costly. Keep in mind that the costs of downtime include:
- Lost customers
- A loss of productivity
- Damage to the company’s reputation
- Expenses associated with bringing the business back online
While all of these costs and consequences may seem rather disheartening, the good news is that there are ways to avoid them. At Phoenix Internet, we are proud to provide data colocation services to companies of all sizes in Phoenix and the surrounding area. Our state-of-the-art data center along with our staff of IT experts help ensure that all of the servers we store are kept online at all times, eliminating the possibility of extended downtime and all of the expenses that go along with it.
If you would like to learn more about our data colocation services and how they are able to ensure maximum uptime for your business, we invite you to contact us today.