The results of a number of recent surveys show that almost 90 percent of business organizations have experienced some kind of system downtime at some time. According to these surveys, many companies reported experiencing downtime at least once per month.

Losing access to files, data, email systems, core systems and processors can often cripple employees’ security, data, productivity and finances. System downtime on corporate computers can pose a serious risk of losing crucial information, so it’s important that you take steps to minimize the chances of system downtime occurring.

Choose the Right Vendor

Before you sign a contract with a vendor, you should closely examine the service-level agreement set forward by the vendor to ensure that it is up to the standard that your company requires. If you are experiencing system downtime regularly, there is more than your environment to blame – your vendor may not be able to provide the level of availability that is required by your organization.

Active-active Clustering

Implementing an active-active clustering environment will help provide more reliable uptime for your core computer systems that in turn will promote better work efficiency and a lower level of risk. Both active-active and active-passive clustering are common ways that many IT departments use to minimize downtime. Although active-passive clustering can work and has been popular in the past with many companies, it’s becoming less and less common as it has a higher risk of loss of data and other important communications.

Perform Process Audits

Performing system audits alone is usually not enough to eliminate redundancies and streamline practices, therefore by performing process audits alongside system audits you will be able to pinpoint which processes are performing a significant role at the time system downtime is occurring. Once you have used process auditing to discover which processes are the main cause of system downtime, it is easier to know which systems should be concentrated on more to protect from downtime.

Minimize Server Overload

From a server point of view, implementing a solution to balance workloads reduces the chance of issues with server outages. Setting up a system that is designed to allow other servers to take over whilst one is taken off for maintenance will help to reduce the risk of critical data loss. A virtual SAN storage solution such as those provided by StorMagic are worth investigating.

Procedures in place for downtime

Just in case you do have to face periods of downtime, or if disaster strikes, then putting in place a coherent plan familiar to your staff will pay dividends. No matter how careful you are to minimise downtime, events beyond your control such as major power outages can occur.

Creating a printed ‘downtime procedures’ manual of some type understandable to all would be a sound move.

If you have any tips for business owners looking to minimize the risk of system downtime, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.