When IT disasters strike, the resulting downtime can create business disruption, cause a loss of revenue and impact on end-user productivity; never mind the actual costs of detecting and sorting out the issue in the first place . . .

IT horror stories: what’s the worst that could happen?

The bottom line

IT disasters cost companies dearly. According to research by Dunn & Bradstreet:

59% of Fortune 500 companies experience a minimum of 1.6 hours of downtime per week.

$46 million is lost due to such outages each year.

The global cost of IT failures? $3 trillion annually.

So who are the culprits?

Hardware failures

All hardware eventually fails – for instance, 5.5 million hard drives fail each year. So how do you protect your company? Refreshing your hardware every three to five years is the ideal, plus backing up your data in the Cloud can offer real benefits. For instance, HMRC recently shifted its operations into the Cloud and has reduced its IT failure rate by over 90%.

Employee mess-ups/naivety

Employees are your company’s greatest resource – but can also be the greatest threat to your business when it comes to IT. Inadvertently deleting crucial files, installing unauthorised software to ‘help’ with their work, downloading malware, using their own devices in the workplace – and even inflicting malicious IT-based damage on your company if they feel they have an axe to grind . . .

A lack of disaster recovery plans

If the worst does happen, what plans do you have in place for rescuing your IT infrastructure? According to a recent survey by Computing, the news is initially good – 86% of SMEs polled said they had a formal plan in place for, say, server disaster recovery. The problem? 53% said they only test their plans once a year (or even less frequently) while a mere 9% test them on a monthly basis.

Such a lack of testing is sowing the seeds for calamity as IT infrastructures are constantly evolving and expanding over time and must be audited frequently to stave off disaster.

‘One-third don’t regularly audit end-user computers and of those who didn’t audit their systems, 34% said they found malware on end-user PCs.’

– Microsoft/IDC malware report 2013

Self-inflicted IT disasters . . .

Some companies think that cutting corners on IT costs will save them big bucks in the long term; that using a single software licence across all the computers in the office will save a fortune – or using dubious software will. But the risks associated with such a nefarious approach are huge – from a lack of security updates to the risk of infecting your entire IT infrastructure with malware.

And remember, if found to be using pirated software, a business can expect to be fined for each application and be charged for purchasing the official licence in each case. To add insult to self-inflicted injury, the company will also have to pay all legal costs and suffer damage to its reputation.

The real bottom line

Such horror stories can be avoided by employing a reputable IT service supplier to audit, monitor and maintain your IT infrastructure. Such managed IT support will mean that you can focus on your business and not fret about your IT imploding . . .


– IT disasters can be triggered by multiple sources, from hardware failures to employees with an axe to grind.

– Make sure you have a data recovery plan in place at the very least.

– Better still, back up all your valuable data in the Cloud.

– Don’t rely on ‘dodgy’ software or your company could end up paying a terrible price . . .

Is your IT services supplier a help or a hindrance? Find out by downloading the eGuide: Why is IT such a pain in the neck?

This article first appeared on the Ubertas Blog