Unplanned IT or Telecom Outages: A Threat to Small Businesses

Data center outages cost business in more ways than one. In fact, there are many ways in which these unplanned outages cost large and small businesses alike. The difference is that large businesses can typically absorb the costs more easily than small businesses are able to manage. These are just a few ways unplanned telecom outages threaten small businesses today.

Financial Ramifications

Did you know that the average outage at a data center lasts 134 minutes and can cost businesses more than$11,000 per minute? This was what a study conducted by Emerson Network Power discovered. Unfortunately, 95 percent of the 450 businesses in the U.S. surveyed experienced at least one outage within the past two years that was unplanned.

Time and Productivity

Depending on the timing of outages, businesses can lose valuable time during the workday. Since more businesses today rely on technology and connectivity than ever before, this hurts businesses, especially small businesses in a big way.

Think of all the ways your business relies on technology:

  •  Cloud Access
  • Credit Card or Payment Processing
  •  Research
  • Remote Access
  • Web Commerce (some businesses, operate completely through their business websites)
  • Equipment Monitoring
  • Security

The list could go on for miles. The bottom line is that when computers are down it costs companies a lot more than dollars. It costs productivity.


Perhaps the biggest hit is the one to consumer confidence. There are many people out there who do not understand that small businesses, like yours, are still vulnerable to the power of technology. When your website is down or you’re unable to access their records or operate as they expect, it erodes their confidence in your business.

What Can You do to Address the Problem?

The very nature of unplanned outages is that they are unexpected. This leaves you feeling frustrated and more than a little powerless. With these instances being so widespread, 95 percent of businesses over a two year period, small business owners should expect this to happen to them at some point.

It’s important to have an emergency plan for times when technology fails. What you really need is a level of redundancy that is automatic so that your staff and customers need not know your primary service isn’t up and running. Load Balancing and Failover is a good way for most businesses to accomplish this, as is Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). BGP is a lower-maintenance solution businesses can choose while Load Balancing and Failover offers are more robust set of features.

You must protect your business by investing in business interruption insurance coverage as well. This insurance helps you protect your business from the financial fallout of unplanned outages. As this is an instance of when, rather than if, the sooner you make this investment, the better it will be for your business.