By Richard Agnew

 

Vice President of North-West EMEA at Veeam Software, Richard Agnew talks about the critical impact each minute of downtime could have on your business.

15 minutes – is it a long time or a short time? The answer to this question varies for individuals and depends on a variety of conditions. For example, 15 minutes is not enough time to write the code of a new application, but it is enough time to plan a meeting or even sign a contract.

Today, optical fiber and Wi-Fi expand our capacity and help us to make every minute of work more efficient and profitable. In such circumstances any failure or unavailability of data becomes a real problem that must be eliminated as soon as possible.

The time that does not exist

Every failure is tantamount to a loss of time, representing a different value for the individual and for the business. In daily life, 15 minutes can easily be overlooked. For example, being 15 minutes late for a bus is hardly the end of the world for most people and can be whiled away reading a book, checking emails, or having a coffee waiting for the next bus to arrive.

However, in the enterprise space the situation is much more serious, as what is invisible to the individual can be extremely important for enterprises. One of the most illustrative examples of this is in the financial world, where every second can cost millions of dollars. This world of fast figures means that the smallest of errors, which halts work for even a short amount of time, can not only separate success from failure but also have irreversible consequences.

This situation occurred when a large social network went for an IPO. Excessive demand caused a failure on the NASDAQ system, resulting in the company’s shares beginning trading about 30 minutes later than planned. For the average person this is a lunchtime, but for an enterprise it means time contingencies – and this half hour of downtime resulted in losses amounting to 115 million U.S. dollars.

Unfortunately, this case is not one of a kind. Failures in IT systems can happen to anyone so enterprises must be able to quickly recover data and return to work, and, more importantly, not stop providing services for even a minute.

Profits in the wires

Today, more and more enterprises have to provide their services to customers 24.7.365, and in some areas of business only this model of working is acceptable. For example, when it comes to IT, enterprises that ignore this requirement will risk seeing their competitors capitalise and taking away their success.

Of course, large international IT enterprises are well-protected and able to withstand such a blow. However, small and medium businesses care less about ensuring continuous data availability and speed of recovery. As a result, downtime may occur more frequently and they require more time for the resumption of work, which in turn leads to, unseen by managers, significant losses in profits and business opportunities. This is a serious threat that can lead to the collapse of the whole enterprise, and this must be addressed.

In step with time

According to the results of the 2016 Veeam Availability Report, which surveyed more than 1,000 leading IT managers, the average downtime of critical applications is almost two hours, while for non-critical applications this triples to almost six hours.

These outages can be exceptionally costly. For example, a major UK-based bank has suffered repeated system failures over the last few years that have seen customers unable to withdraw money from cashpoints, money vanishing after IT systems shut down, and IT faults that saw them suffer record fines and compensation payouts.

Such levels of downtime pose a global threat to an increasing number of companies. 84 percent of respondents to the 2016 Veeam Availability report recognised the problem of availability (the gap between the capabilities of the recovery means and needs of customers). The results of the report confirmed that it is necessary to improve existing IT resources and achieve index RTPO (recovery time and point objectives) not exceeding 15 minutes.

If enterprises succeed in upgrading the storage and use of technology in modern software in a timely manner, they are able to meet all the requirements of modern business and become an Always-On Enterprise. They must be aware that it does not matter how many people work in the company or what its revenue is, success can only be achieved by strategically investing in the development of IT infrastructure.

The use of modern technologies has provided businesses with opportunities to deliver quality services to customers that comply with current standards. This is the only way any company can guarantee that, in the event of a failure, the recovery of even critical applications will take no longer than 15 minutes – the time it takes to drink a cup for coffee, but for enterprises to earn millions.