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How Unplanned IT Downtime Can Affect Small Businesses

Technological improvements and innovations have changed the course of many industries across the world. Not just multinationals and global brands, but small local companies have also started leveraging technologies like Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality, Blockchain, and DevOps, among others.

The global Information Technology (IT) industry is on pace to reach $5.2 trillion in 2020, according to the research consultancy, IDC. Given this forecast, small businesses will also continue to invest in new technologies to remain competitive in an increasingly digital, connected, and automated global market.

While IT technologies are indispensable, and they do increase the efficiency and productivity of your business, they are also unpredictable. Most IT networks and systems do experience a glitch or encounter a bug sometimes.

As a leading company offering Detroit IT Support, we know that the real cost of unplanned downtime for small businesses is more than just network failure. It can have a more devastating effect.

Let’s see how.

1. Sudden Drop in Productivity

Most small businesses rely on digital and online communication channels to connect with their peers as well as customers. Digital communication is particularly important today as many people have to work from home due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions.

With digital communication channels like email, video conferencing applications, and instant messengers, you can connect with anyone around the world instantly. This affordable real-time communication has helped many small businesses increase their reach and create new opportunities.

The flipside, however, is that when digital communication stops without warning, your productivity suffers a huge setback. As employees can’t communicate, most companies in the service industry may have to shut down their operations until the servers are back online.

Small businesses in the manufacturing sector may also need to shut down their entire production line when the servers are down. However, daily expenses, including salaries, utility bills, and other costs, continue to accumulate during the unplanned downtime.

Although large companies often have resources set aside for emergencies like this, small businesses don’t have that luxury. All they can try is to get their network back online as quickly as possible with the help of a managed IT service provider.

2. Negative Brand Publicity

Another crucial factor at stake is your brand value. Unplanned downtime often damages your brand reputation. If your company experiences frequent and long unplanned downtimes, your brand reputation will suffer long-term implications.

In this digital world, news spreads fast. Whenever downtime hits your business, your customers will take to social media to express their frustration. Customer dissatisfaction can quickly turn into a publicity nightmare for your company.

Your customers will stop using your services or products and also ask others to do the same. This negative publicity will further discourage new prospects from turning into your customers. It is also difficult to turn things around once a negative brand message starts spreading on social media.

That’s why you need to invest in creating a proactive unplanned downtime prevention plan for your business. You should also find a local managed IT service provider to help mitigate the losses in case of an emergency. For example, if you need IT Support in Detroit, find a local team of knowledgeable IT engineers who can monitor your network 24/7/365.

3. Application Damage and Repair Costs

While brand damage is an indirect effect of unplanned downtime, a more direct impact can occur in the form of the cost of restoring or replacing damaged IT systems. An unexpected glitch or server failure can damage your cloud-based applications, requiring you to repair or replace them.

Unfortunately, identifying the exact cause and location of an IT glitch or bug is often time consuming and tedious. Most small businesses also lack the expertise and resources required to investigate the issue. They also find it difficult to pay for the restoration in addition to the lost revenue.

One way to avoid paying for complete data and network restoration, however, is to create a backup and recovery plan for your business. With the help of an experienced tech company offering IT Support in Detroit, you can backup critical data and applications regularly to ensure the continuity of your business.

In the event of an emergency, you can bring your system back online by rolling out backed-up applications and data. You can continue using this temporarily restored system until the glitch gets fixed.

4. The Risk of Losing Vital Business Data

Unplanned downtime can affect not only your applications, but also business data. Depending on the intensity of the damage, some data may be lost forever. The consequences of data loss can be far-reaching for most small businesses.

When data is lost, your ability to run the business gets hampered, and your finances may take a deep dive. As most small businesses have a limited line of credit and few resources, critical data loss might lead to complete financial ruin.

Your customers will most likely see the data loss as your incompetence, meaning they will lose faith in your company. In other words, losing your data usually translates into losing your customers. Regaining the trust of your customers after a data loss, even if it was due to unplanned downtime, is very difficult.

Furthermore, as data loss may result in the exposure of confidential customer and employee information, you may have to face multiple legal actions. With data handling and protection regulations becoming increasingly stringent, the legal ramifications may put your company out of business.

5. Lost Revenue

With your productivity in shambles, employee morale at its all-time low, and no IT network to continue your work, your revenue will start dwindling fast. On top of that, you may have to pay for the loss of service or data to your customers.

As your applications are down and data is compromised, it may take at least a few days to start generating new leads or nurturing the existing ones. Meanwhile, your prospects and existing customers may turn to your competitors as your network is unavailable. If your business relies on online sales and lead generation, you will lose your revenue quickly. If the problem persists, it could put you out of business soon.


In this digital world, IT technology can help you grow your business quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, IT technology is also unreliable. So, when your network goes down unexpectedly, your business gets hit hard. Hopefully, this post will help you understand the real consequences of unplanned downtime for small businesses. That, in turn, will encourage you to take proactive IT monitoring, data backup, and data recovery measures.

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