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How to plan for the cost of unplanned downtime

 

Estimate costs

Estimate the cost of planned downtime “The ‘cost’ is not only lost revenue but also reputational damage that can affect future sales or otherwise compromise the brand,” Trovato said. “It’s important to ensure that leadership understands the cost of planned downtime so they can decide whether to mitigate or accept that cost.”

With the potential to cause even more disruption than planned downtime, unplanned downtime can lead to extra business and IT costs, Trovato said. On the IT side, costs can involve additional technology purchases, vendor support services and the staff overtime necessary to resolve the incident.

Organizations must treat both planned and unplanned downtime as potential business disruptions. For most organizations, even a weekend of planned downtime for maintenance has some impact.

“While weekends may seem like ideal opportunities for planned downtime, a wide range of services and stakeholders can still be affected, including users of online platforms, staff who are working after hours to meet a deadline, batch processing that is run after hours, and so on,” Trovato said.

The key to effective budgeting is to ensure that leadership understands the cost of unplanned downtime so they can decide whether to mitigate or accept that cost.

“That understanding also helps define an appropriate level of investment in resilience,” Trovato said. “Don’t spend a million dollars to solve a $10,000 problem.”

Similarly, if potential reputational impact is low, it may be unnecessary to deploy an expensive high-availability tool to reduce that risk.

“Instead, a warm standby solution that enables recovery within 24 hours might be just fine,” Trovato said.

 

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