For any business to be a success, a certain level of productivity simply must be guaranteed. Without being able to manage as consistent a level of productivity as possible, knowing when you will reach your goals or if you will be able to meet deadlines can become a lot more difficult. Downtime is a problem that can get in the way of your productivity, so it’s worth looking at all of the different causes you can isolate and protect against.
Fire and fire risks
While not necessarily the most common, one of the most devastating of all business interruptions is that of a fire or an explosion breaking out. Many businesses have fire risks that need to be carefully addressed with a policy that aims to minimize fire hazards, as well as equipment that can help deal with fires as and when they break out. In order to stop the massive interruption that can be caused by a fire, you need a comprehensive workplace health and safety approach, with regular fire safety training for the entire team.
Bad weather can play a role in a wide range of the other business interruptions and downtime sources mentioned below. However, bad weather can also effectively prevent any of your workers from being able to make it to the workplace in the first place. It’s a solution that is getting more widely implemented in the business world as-is, but remote working setups can help business owners ensure their team are able to access the tools they need and the resources they have to work with, no matter where they are. Setting up a remote working office takes work, as you have to ensure that every endpoint connecting to the business is secured.
With the power of the network, be it an internal network or the internet, on our side, we can communicate, share resources, and access tools much more efficiently and conveniently than ever. So, it’s a major shame that network outages account for roughly half of all downtime experienced by the average business. For that reason, it’s important to look at ensuring you have a backup net connection at all times. This way, your team can simply hop from one connection to the other in the event of network loss and aren’t stuck without access to the resources they need.
There are very few businesses that don’t use some form of electrically powered equipment or appliances. We rely on electric power so much that it’s easy to take it for granted. However, without setting up the workplace with the help of a commercial electrician, you may end up not providing enough power to support the business, leading to a great chance of blackouts and other issues. It may be wise to invest in a backup generator alongside your primary power source as well to help you keep working even in the case of an external power cut.
Most modern offices rely not only on digital equipment but also reams and reams of data stored either within the physical equipment on the premises or through Cloud storage solutions. Data breaches can make this data inaccessible and even risk it falling into the hands of those who would use it for ill-gotten gains. As such, securing your business online isn’t just going to prevent downtime, it can also prevent the PR nightmare and legal trouble that can come with leaving your customers’ data vulnerable to hackers and online thieves.
Not every IT failure is the result of some outside interference, however. There are causes that are much more preventable and a result of negligence on the part of you business and its IT team. Software can fail for a variety of reasons, many of which can be solved by re-installing or getting in touch with the developers. However, having outdated software is one of the most common causes of all, and this can not only result in issues getting it running, but it also leaves security vulnerabilities open, too.
Just as software can fail, so too can your hardware. When hardware fails, however, it’s usually because it has suffered so much wear and tear that things like hard drive write errors start to become a lot more common. You can try to better maintain your hardware, but you need to know when to invest in a replacement. There are plenty of places to find refurbished hardware that can help act as a replacement for your existing hardware but without the full cost of brand new equipment. However, it’s not worth skimping too much on hardware.
This risk doesn’t apply to quite as many businesses like those mentioned above. However, if your business relies on materials or products straight from your supply chain, then any interruption in that chain will interrupt your business, as well. Any supplier, no matter how professional, can experience problems affecting their supply. However, with the right supplier, they should think to inform you ahead of time of any risks to their own supply chain. This way, you can better prepare for the deficit that might occur as a result. It’s getting left in the dark that causes more problems than the actual supply chain failure itself.
Getting back up on your feet
Above, we’ve addressed many of the individual solutions to some of the most common interruptions and sources of business downtime. However, in order to make sure that you can pick back up without losing too much momentum or revenue as a result, even when the worse does come to pass, it’s important to have some financial security in place. It’s hard for businesses to put aside provisions like an emergency fund, but other options like business interruption insurance can offer some real safety.
Most businesses are going to face some level of downtime at some point. Hopefully, the tips above can at least help you minimize this experience and keep the ship running as smooth as possible.