3 Strategies to Reduce Unplanned Outages

    September 3, 2015

    By Jeff Schultz

    Keeping your business’s IT systems optimized and operational can be difficult. Here are a few ways you can avoid potentially devastating unplanned outages and keep things running smoothly.

    Anyone running a business knows that tech is an essential part of their operations, and the technological challenges they face each day are anything but predictable. Like an overheated engine or a flat tire, IT issues can flare up without warning and usually demand immediate attention.

    These kinds of problems are known as unplanned outages and, if handled incorrectly, they can quickly spiral out of control and do some serious damage.

    Unplanned Outages

    Most businesses today rely on computers and technology for nearly everything they do, and they all understand, at least to some extent, how fragile these technologies can be. But for companies centered around highly complex digital systems, the stakes are incredibly high.

    Unplanned outages pose not only a threat to revenue, but can put an entire company’s future in jeopardy when not dealt with appropriately.

    According to ZDNet, back in 2013 Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced a catastrophic outage that cost the company an estimated (and eye-watering) $1,100 a second.

    Thanks to serious issues with its data center in Northern Virginia, it took AWS 59 minutes to resolve the issue, costing the company almost $4 million in lost revenue. And a week before the AWS crash, Google experienced a five-minute outage that still cost them upwards of $500,000.

    It’s easy to see how quickly these unplanned outages can make a serious impact, and for companies that don’t have access to the same resources as an Amazon or Google, even a few minutes can be life-threatening. Here are three ways you can better plan for, and hopefully prevent, disastrous outages like these from happening.

    1. Know the Numbers

    A comprehensive understanding of current and future demand is crucial when it comes to smooth operations. Over-anticipation can lead to overcompensation and wasted resources, while expecting too little often results in a system overload, which means crashes and service outages.

    The key is to invest in a system that can reliably predict your company’s numbers based on volume and growth. And don’t forget to always expect the unexpected: use predictive analytics and run through a variety of scenarios so that you’re prepared for anything.

    2. Communication Is Key

    In large corporations, new strategies and business decisions often get lost in the shuffle and don’t always make their way around to the right people. A new sale or promotional campaign may sound innocuous in terms of new data or added utilization, but if several key branches fail to adjust properly, it can cause major problems when it comes to capacity planning and resource management.

    Making sure all channels of communication are crystal clear and effectively utilized is crucial when it comes to reducing the risk for future IT problems. The focus on online capacity should be company-wide, so make sure that your IT objectives are expressed in plain language to the entire staff. As the awareness level increases across all departments, the opportunity for errors decreases accordingly.

    3. Get on the Right Track with TeamQuest

    The breadth and severity of the threat posed by unplanned outages can make it a difficult problem to address. Seeking out the proper tools and services is imperative to mitigating and preventing the costly damages that outages bring.

    The experts at TeamQuest offer a variety of services and tools that can help you more efficiently deal with predictive data analytics, capacity planning, and IT optimization maturity. Visit their site today to find out more about what they can do to help make the road to IT optimization safer and more fruitful.

    (Main image credit: Rich Magahiz/flickr)