By Ian Loew
If you’re running a business, you need to have a solid IT infrastructure. Businesses are increasingly dependent on data and technology. When servers go down, everything goes haywire.
In other words, server downtime is a big problem.
If you’re not convinced, let’s look at the specific ways a server going down directly affects your brand reputation.
What Is Server Downtime?
Server uptime refers to the percentage of time a server is operational. A server is a vital piece of your IT infrastructure. It serves information to other computers or clients. These clients connect to the server through the internet or a local area network.
Server downtime then is the percentage of time a server is not operational. There are many causes of server downtime. Here are some of them:
- Physical causes: A flood or a fire can cause severe problems for servers.
- Hardware problems: Overheating, for instance, can bring down a server.
- Software problems: Database problems are a possible cause. Database monitoring is critical here.
- Power supply problems: Without power, servers can’t work.
- External factors: Malware, for instance, can result in a server going down.
When a server goes down, your website can go down, too. But that’s not all the damage you get. In the next section, let’s look at the other effects of server downtime on your business.
How Does Server Downtime Affect Your Brand?
It pays to know exactly what you’re losing to server downtime. When you know how much damage it makes, you’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that doesn’t happen as frequently. That includes taking great pains to research the right provider for you and learning what to do when a server goes down.
Ready? Let’s get started!
1. Lost Productivity
Server downtime can lead to lost productivity. That’s especially true if your employees rely on cloud-based applications to go about their daily work. For example, if the server they connect to send emails is down, they wouldn’t be able to send that urgent follow-up email to a client.
In manufacturing companies, server downtime could lead to a complete shutdown of the production line. No matter how much you spend on web design for manufacturing companies, server downtime will hit employee productivity. That means the company doesn’t get its money’s worth and customers cannot be served.
And then there’s the long-term effect on workflow. Even if the server is restored, the delay in part of the work chain due to server downtime will still result in delays in other areas. And it can take some time before that workflow backlog is cleared.
2. Hurts Confidence in the Company
Frequent server downtime erodes confidence in your company. If there’s a delay on your end, the other companies you deal with will not look kindly on you. Business is business. All parties should meet deadlines. No one wants a backlog in the supply chain or the workflow.
Your trading partners might not be the only ones hesitant to do business with you. Even your loyal customers may give up on you if they frequently find a down website on your end. Worse, they may even share their negative experiences with your brand.
And when you get a bad reputation, getting leads and paying customers to become twice as difficult. According to WebFX, about 25% of a company’s market value comes from its online reputation.
3. SLA Payouts
With server downtime, companies will be unable to deliver on their promises to give customers access to products and services when they need them. That could mean shelling out money to cover the “cost of damage” on these customers.
Service-level agreements (SLAs) are typically signed between the company and the customer as an assurance against any breach of warranties. And those SLAs usually have that indemnification clause.
Although the financial remuneration varies from SLA to SLA, one thing’s for sure: it involves a substantial amount of money. According to Gartner, SLA payouts usually correspond to 100% of one month of service fees. And that’s not something any company would be happy to lose.
4. Leads to a Loss of Opportunities
When your ecommerce website is down due to server downtime, consumers won’t be able to buy from you. It can be challenging to persuade them again to push through with the purchase the next time around. In short, you’re likely to have fewer paying customers. That means less revenue for you.
You can lose your prospects to your competitors, too. With server downtime, prospects won’t be able to reach you online if they have a question about your product. Around 65% of internet users read articles every day, and if your site isn’t available, they will most likely turn to other companies that offer similar products–and that can answer their questions and assist them then and there.
5. Data Loss
Server downtime can cause data loss or exposure. And for companies like yours that rely on data to operate, that’s a nightmare scenario. Even if your service provider has backup data, files can still be corrupted, never to be used again.
And then there are the cyber attacks you are vulnerable to when a server is down. These cyber attacks can compromise if not destroy your data. If you were unable to keep customer data secure, you could face lawsuits. Just like that, you can have thousands of dollars down the drain.
Server downtime can affect your business in many ways. The possible impact is not just monetary. It may have to do with consumer perception of your brand, too. When consumers perceive you as unreliable, they won’t hesitate to leave and go to your competitor instead.
Although eradicating server downtime is impossible, you can still do your part to ensure it doesn’t take place frequently. Do your due diligence. Conduct your research. Partner with cloud and data center providers that can give you the highest levels of SLA uptime. Do all those things, and you can expect smooth business operations, at least most of the time. And happy customers and trading partners, too!
About the Author
Ian Loew is a web entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert, and the Owner & Head of Business Development of Lform Design. After four years of helping Fortune 500 companies with MGT Design, Ian embarked on his freelance career before establishing Lform Design in 2005. He leads a team of creative professionals to deliver inspired online experiences via modern, responsive websites that reflect his clients’ core values. When not at the helm, Ian can be found mountain biking with friends or spending time with his family.