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The Hidden Cost Of Computer Downtime And What To Do About It

It’s nearly impossible for a small business today to survive without the use of technology. How many small businesses are left that don’t at least use email? The catch is that even if only a small amount of technology is used by a business, it becomes dependent on that technology and can’t properly function without it.

The technology must allow users to reliably and efficiently access the systems and data they need to do their job. If it doesn’t, there are significant costs and these costs are often underestimated. If there is an attempt to quantify these costs, it often doesn’t go beyond just multiplying employee downtime by the employee’s hourly wage. Direct employee cost is only a small part of overall cost of downtime.


There are numerous indirect or “soft” costs associated with downtime and though difficult to quantify, they can drain massive amounts of profit from a business.

A major indirect cost resulting from downtime is the cost of poor customer service when systems are unavailable or slow.


When a customer calls to place an order, or check the status of an order, and can’t because the system is slow or down, what does that cost in customer goodwill? Will they order again? Are they likely to promote your business? What’s the cost of losing that customer? What’s the opportunity cost of that customer not promoting your business?  What damage results from them actually badmouthing it?


Another indirect cost relates to employee morale. When employees can’t effectively perform their duties because the system or their workstation is slow or down, not only is there lost productivity, but there’s frustration.


Frustration can affect employee morale and employees can feel management doesn’t provide them the tools they need to succeed or that management in general, doesn’t care about them. Low employee moral can lead to a poor work ethic and employee turnover, both of which can represent huge costs.

So, because of a small businesses’ high dependence on technology, downtime costs are high when that technology is unavailable or inefficient.  The trick becomes minimizing downtime. The traditional “Break-fix” approach to IT management, where nothing is done until something “breaks” is largely responsible for excessive downtime. There is an increasingly popular realization that the Break-fix model is ultimately more costly to the organization than a proactive model. Break-fix is more costly, because it results in an under-performing, unsecure IT infrastructure and therefore MORE DOWNTIME! A key element to the proactive approach is “Remote Monitoring and Management” or “RMM.”


RMM services watch over computers and networks 24/7 and identify conditions requiring attention. This allows for identifying issues before users are affected to minimize downtime. Additionally, if systems do need to be taken offline for repair, the work can be done non-intrusively, off hours to minimize business disruption.  Here are some of the things that can be monitored …

  1. Computer hard drive space (did you know that when a hard drive reaches 80% capacity, it starts to slow down)
  2. Computer hard drive performance
  3. Computer hard drive health (is the hard drive badly fragmented, developing bad sectors or about to fail?)
  4. Computer processor performance
  5. Computer memory performance
  6. Operating system stability – are all the latest patches applied?
  7. Power usage and battery backup charge
  8. Temperature monitoring – are hardware components ready to fail or does the cooling fan need to be replaced?
  9. Network speed
  10. Anti-virus status – are file definitions up to date and is the anti-virus software running?
  11. Security – do operating systems have the most current security updates and is the firewall preventing un-authorized access?
  12. Backup status – is the backup software running?

Remote maint & security

When left un-monitored, all these things can result in significant downtime. Poor security for example can cause systems or data to become unavailable when a cyberattack occurs. Significant downtime can be incurred waiting for systems to be restored or cleaned of a virus.


Sometimes poor security can result in more than just downtime costs. For example, if internal or customer information is stolen or compromised, there’s potential law suites, increased insurance premiums and more lost goodwill with customers, prospects and possibly employees. You don’t have to look outside the Philadelphia area to see an example of this. In March 2016, Main Line Health Systems had personal information of more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians stolen in a data breach. This not only affected the public image of the health system, …

Reputation Management

… but also resulted in costs associated with having to provide support services for employees, including credit monitoring and a call center.


Another way Remote Monitoring and Management reduces downtime, is by allowing for instant, secure, remote control.


This instant control and access to equipment, its configuration and history allows for rapidly analyzing systems and resolving problems, for example, it allows for quickly servicing password reset requests and common lockout issues. RMM in general reduces on-site visits and ultimately save times and money.

With RMM, businesses can avoid the burden of IT management and focus on their core business activities, while professionals make sure systems are working properly. RMM results in lower overall IT cost and costs are incurred at a predictable monthly or other periodic rate.

There are many reasons systems can go down or access can be slow or lost, but if someone isn’t watching over them, these interruptions to business productivity can’t be stopped before they happen. Remote Monitoring and Management is a critical component to reducing downtime and saves big money in the areas of customer service/retention, employee productivity/morale/turnover, third party liability and business reputation.

How Can I Use Technology To Collaborate Better with Others?

Do you find it takes too long to get things done when multiple people are involved? Is there too much back and forth with emails? Do you email documents to co-workers for them to edit and then have difficulty managing file versions? Are you sometimes unable to access current files from wherever you are?

Collaboration 5 - poor communication

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may not be maximizing technology to help you effectively collaborate. Did you know for example, there’s a much easier way to collaborate on file creation and management that includes being able to edit documents together with other people at the same time, from any of your devices, from anywhere? Storing files online (in the cloud) makes it easy to access, organize and share files from anywhere and files are always up to date, so everyone has access to the latest version.

Collaboration 4 - cloud connecting different types of devices

Online file storage/sharing solutions are subscription based, so there’s no upfront cost for software and you always know the software you are using is up to date.

There are a lot of potential ways to use the cloud for file sharing and collaboration and numerous products to choose from. We’ve identified Microsoft Office 365 as the most reliable, easy to use, cost effective and secure cloud solution for collaboration and file sharing for small business.


With Microsoft Office 365 and its OneDrive for Business, you can share files, or groups of files, within or outside your business and you can control who the file is shared with and whether or not they can edit it. You can simultaneously create, review and edit files with others, and respond to comments and track status updates. If you need to work offline, no problem – Office 365 synchronizes files to your devices and with many Office 365 plans, the latest Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook can be installed directly on your devices. And it doesn’t matter what type of device you like to use.


Not only does Office 365 facilitate efficient file sharing, it allows you to collaborate in other ways with contact and calendar sharing, email, instant messaging, social networking and video conferencing.

Video Conferencing

Office 365 syncs emails, calendars, and contact information across your devices in real time, so that information is always up to date regardless of whether you’re using your desktop, tablet or phone. Avoid duplicate contact entry and maintenance by sharing a unified database of contacts with others. View others calendars to check availability and efficiently schedule meetings.

Calendar Sharing

Do all this with industry leading security, including anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering to guard your email from the increasing number of mail threats.

So, if you want to efficiently collaborate with co-workers and others, consider Microsoft Office 365. Although Office 365 is intuitive and easy to use, implementation and email migration must be planned and well executed to minimize any downtime during the transition. As such, especially for businesses, it’s best to seek the guidance of a professional.