System Downtime: Why It Happens and How to Reduce It

Downtime is a significant problem for any business. It costs companies money and time, can cause employee stress, and negatively impacts productivity.

Several things can cause downtime, but the most common are hardware failure, software issues, network issues, and human error. Learn more about the causes of downtime and how to minimize it in this guide.

Network Issues

In the digital age, businesses rely on connected systems and networks to conduct business. Their clients and employees expect access to data whenever needed – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Downtime is a big problem, as it can cost a company money and affect its reputation. It can even lead to fines and penalties if the network is down longer than expected.

The first step in minimizing system downtime is to identify the cause of the problem. Testing your hardware and software, gathering information about the issues, and formulating a plan of action are things you could do to solve the issue.

Various things, such as hardware failure, software errors, and human error, can cause network issues. In most cases, however, it’s possible to pinpoint the cause of network issues and fix them. The key is to follow a repeatable process to diagnose and solve the problem quickly. Monitoring and maintaining the company’s computer systems, installing and configuring hardware and software, and resolving technical issues as they occur are all responsibilities of IT support like Elevate Services Group.

Hardware Failure

A common cause of system downtime is hardware failure. It is particularly true for servers and networking hardware, which accounts for 80% of data center outages.

Servers and hardware should be regularly checked for signs of malfunction or deterioration and updated/upgraded periodically to maintain performance and protect the business from software vulnerabilities. But no matter how well you keep your hardware up to date, problems will arise.

The good news is that most hardware faults are transient and can be repaired. The operating systems have built-in recovery procedures that allow the system to repeatedly retry the operation before it reports a failure to the caller.

Human Error

Human error, which may or may not be intentional, is one of the most common causes of system downtime. It is the number one internal threat to business continuity.

The problem can arise from a wide range of factors. Whether a data center professional inadvertently sets the temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius or pulls a power cord can lead to an IT outage.

However, it’s essential to understand the difference between a system and individual-based human error. A system approach focuses on the errors in the overall system and how they can be prevented or minimized.

On the other hand, a personal approach concentrates on individual errors and people’s mistakes. It can be dangerous because it can isolate unsafe acts from their underlying system context.

Software Issues

Unplanned system downtime is a disaster for businesses, resulting in lost productivity and damaging an organization’s brand image. Moreover, a single downtime event can result in losing valuable customer and supplier relationships, negatively impacting a company’s bottom line.

One of the leading causes of computer downtime is software issues. Common software issues include outdated software, incompatible software, and corrupted files.

Drivers are also a common source of software problems, as they need to be updated regularly for a computer’s operating system (OS) to communicate correctly with the hardware and other devices connected to it. Fortunately, you can take action to minimize the risks associated with software updates and patches. These include having an upgrade plan, expanding storage capacity, and testing patches before they are deployed to production. These practices help minimize network downtime and ensure employees can always use their systems.


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