Here are the leading causes of downtime you should know

Here are the leading causes of downtime you should know

Downtime, or the period when a system, network, or service is unavailable or inaccessible, can lead to financial losses, decreased productivity, a tarnished reputation, and dissatisfied customers. But for small- or medium-sized businesses, its repercussions can be particularly devastating, as these companies often lack the robust IT infrastructure and dedicated teams that larger enterprises have. As a result, even a brief period of downtime can disrupt their day-to-day operations, halt revenue generation, and strain limited resources.

Moreover, specific types of businesses, such as eCommerce, online services, and other businesses heavily reliant on customer interactions, may experience more significant consequences. For them, downtime means missed sales opportunities, compromised customer satisfaction, and potential long-term damage to their brand image.

Common causes of downtime

Downtime shouldn't be something you simply accept as inevitable. Here are some of the most common causes of downtime and how to prevent them.

Corrupted backups

Imagine relying on a backup system to restore your data in the event of a disaster, only to find out that the backups themselves are corrupted or unusable.

To prevent this nightmare scenario, it's crucial to regularly test your backup systems. Perform periodic data restoration tests to ensure that your backups are functioning correctly and that you can retrieve your data when needed. You should also consider using multiple backup solutions, such as cloud storage and external hard drives, to create redundant copies of your critical data.

Hardware and software issues

Faulty hardware components, such as servers or networking equipment, can unexpectedly fail and disrupt your entire system. Similarly, software glitches or bugs can cause crashes or system instability. Luckily, there are ways to mitigate these issues, such as by conducting regular maintenance and updates, keeping track of hardware warranties, and replacing aging components proactively. It also pays to implement a system for tracking and applying software patches and updates promptly.


Ransomware, malware, and other malicious activities can compromise your systems, steal or encrypt your data, and render your operations inaccessible. But by taking preventive measures, you can reduce the likelihood of falling victim to cyberattacks and minimize the associated downtime.

To protect against cyberattacks, it's crucial to adopt certain cybersecurity measures, such as implementing strong passwords and enabling multifactor authentication for your systems. Regularly educate your employees about phishing scams and other common attacks as well. You should also consider implementing regular security audits and penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities and address them proactively.

Network outage

A network outage can bring your business to a standstill, preventing employees from accessing critical systems and services. While network outages can sometimes be beyond your control, there are steps you can take to minimize their impact.

One crucial measure is to have redundant network connections, such as cellular data plans, to ensure that you have alternative options if one connection goes down. Additionally, monitoring your network infrastructure can help you identify and address potential issues before they escalate. Regularly test your network's resilience by simulating failures and evaluating the effectiveness of your backup systems.

Human error

Based on a 2022 study, around 40% of organizations in the previous three years experienced significant outages caused by human error. Of these incidents, a staggering 85% resulted from staff noncompliance with procedures or flaws in the processes themselves.

The fact is that it’s easy to make errors, such as mistakenly deleting critical files, misconfiguring systems, or inadvertently causing network disruptions. All these can have severe consequences.

To minimize the risk of human error, your business must provide comprehensive training on proper data handling, system administration, and security protocols. Encourage employees to double-check their actions and implement approval processes for critical changes. Creating a culture of attentiveness and accountability can go a long way in reducing the likelihood of downtime caused by human error.

Related reading: 4 Ways IT downtime affects your business

By understanding the leading causes of downtime and implementing preventive measures, your businesses can significantly reduce the risk of disruption and keep your operations running optimally at all times. Get in touch with Healthy IT’s team of experts to know how your business can minimize — or even eliminate — downtime. Book a consultation today!