What are the Business Costs Associated With Server Downtime?

What are the Business Costs Associated With Server Downtime?

A large segment of today’s technologies are server-reliant, from networks, to enterprise software systems, mobile apps, websites and more. A well-maintained and properly-configured server can bring tremendous benefits, but when problems arise, the consequences can be significant. In fact, there is one phrase that is certain to make every IT administrator’s blood run cold: server downtime. 

Server downtime has the power to bring things to a screeching halt and that may very well include your operations. This leaves many to wonder: What are the business costs associated with server downtime? 

The Costs of Server Downtime Repairs

When your servers are down, the number one priority is to get them up and running as quickly as possible. But this often comes at a significant cost, especially in cases that arise after normal business hours when the hourly rate increases for IT professionals (among others.) 

The burden is even greater for those who rely upon servers in an on-premises data center. In these cases, you’re responsible for all aspects of server maintenance and repairs. This translates into higher repair costs when downtime occurs. 

Routine server maintenance is one expense that can easily fall by the wayside, but the cost of good maintenance usually proves to be worthwhile because it helps you avoid more costly server downtime.

Lost Productivity from Server Downtime

Productivity levels can take a major hit from server downtime, especially if it’s a recurring problem. Continual interruptions in workflow take a big toll on productivity. Server downtime can result in an inability to use a network, web portal, enterprise software platform and other mission-critical technology.  If mission-critical  systems are not available, productivity  — and all associated profit — is going to take a major hit. 

Over time, the cumulative impact of recurring server downtime incidents can become extremely problematic, even if the periods of downtime are relatively brief. This is especially true in situations where the server has been faltering for a period of time prior to the downtime incidents. Employees will get frustrated, morale is lowered and operations are interrupted. This is a recipe for poor productivity, which is doubly problematic if customers and/or clients are directly affected.

Lost Sales and Revenue from Server Downtime.

Servers drive a company’s point of sales systems, networks, websites, mobile applications, enterprise software systems and beyond. But when server downtime strikes, these mission-critical systems will cease to function properly, leading to lost sales and revenue. Operations grind to a halt and the cost of that downtime increases with every minute that passes. 

In addition to the more obvious consequences of server downtime, there are less apparent issues at play in many cases. For example, if your revenue is generated by paying users on a mobile app, you risk losing those subscribers if server downtime results in an inability to use the app. Additionally, a company may be compelled to adjust their subscribers’ monthly fee to make up for the downtime, which adds an additional cost to the equation. And this says nothing of the costs of recovering your reputation. Once a mobile app, website or other public-facing platform gets a reputation for being slow and glitchy, it can be difficult to change that view. 

The Cost of Server Downtime Insurance Coverage

Some companies are so dependent upon servers that they opt for server downtime insurance coverage.  These policies work by providing the business with compensation for losses that are a direct result of a downed server. 

Let’s say a retailer’s servers are down for two hours. During this time, stores are unable to process transactions and that translates into lost sales. Downtime insurance covers a portion of those losses. Unfortunately, insurance cannot cover the losses associated with the bad customer experience that results from this scenario. That’s a less tangible cost that is difficult — if not impossible — to remedy.   

Server downtime insurance coverage can be a bit tricky because there tends to be a lot of fine print in terms of what’s covered. For example, some insurance policies only go into effect after a certain amount of time. For instance, a policy may cover losses that occur after 60 minutes of server downtime. But if a company’s servers were only down for 45 minutes, their claim would be denied because they never passed that 60 minute threshold. It is terms such as this that make this form of insurance rather impractical for many businesses. 

While some companies may find server downtime insurance to be beneficial, the better strategy is to focus your efforts on server health and maintenance. A well-maintained server is far less likely to fail in a manner that results in downtime. 

Using Load Balancing to Avoid Server Downtime

Load balancers bring numerous benefits in terms of performance, stability and reliability. But most notably, load balancing can help companies avoid server downtime.  

Load balancers have a central server — the hub server or load balancer — that intercepts incoming server requests and distributes those requests across multiple servers in a pool or cluster. By distributing client requests, no single server is overloaded and this lessens the chance of seeing slowness and downtime. 

Some load balancers have the ability to perform server health checks too. If a server is sluggish or it issues an error message in response, the load balancer will flag it for maintenance. These health checks ensure that the server is performing as expected with an acceptable level of availability. The end result: a decreased risk of server downtime. 

The right load balancing technology can bring numerous benefits — including a reduction in the incidence of server downtime — but you will only see maximum ROI if you choose the right type of load balancer for your technology. That’s where Resonate can help. We specialize in reliable load balancing and our team is here to help you find the perfect load balancer for your needs. We deliver cost-efficient and scalable high-performance load balancing solutions.

We invite you to contact the Resonate team today to discuss your server configuration and your load balancing needs. Together, we’ll help you find the solution you need to avoid server downtime and the related losses.