Monthly Archives: January 2014

Your Website Is Down? You’re Not Alone

website-crashYou’re excited. You finally got your website up and running, and your business is now officially online and competitive. It’s all good, you’re getting visitors, and reaping the rewards of having a great website with marketability.

Then in the midst of a busy day, it happens: you go to your website, and all you see is black text on a blank white background that says This page cannot be displayed or even worse, This site has been hacked. Whatever the type and meaning of the message, all it says to you is This is not good.

Site downtime is far from uncommon, and a constant challenge for the data center that hosts your website. All website traffic is channeled through data centers, which use the latest technology to keep websites up and data flowing, but it’s inevitable that something will go wrong. According to venturebeat.com, 40 percent of service interruptions are caused by power failure, 25 percent are hardware failure, and 13 percent are software failure (bad configurations or malicious bugs).

Then there’s the human element. People cause a large amount of downtime, either through innocent error or that villain in the dark room, The Hacker. The sad truth is that hackers are a growing threat, therefore it’s not surprising that website attacks by malicious software are increasing dramatically. According to Symantec, 31% of targeted attacks in 2012 were aimed at small businesses like yours.

Regardless of the cause, the costs of downtime can be staggering. This sobering infographic breaks down the financial impact of website downtime on businesses while offering some great tips on dealing with this problem. This one paints an even bleaker scenario. One astounding fact that stands out: just .5 percent of downtime a year equates to 44 hours, more than a standard work week!

Keep in mind that although service interruptions may impact you through lost revenue, productivity or data, you’re not the only one. Countless companies have and will experience downtime. Big boys like Amazon, Facebook and even Google have gone offline to the tune of millions of dollars.

Fortunately, most downtime events are brief, lasting only a few minutes. But this may soon change, thanks to the explosion of mobile devices that are placing a greater burden on the internet infrastructure, thus requiring more and larger data centers. The average time spent online is currently about 4.5 hours a day, but that number is steadily increasing. According to Alcatel-Lucent, by 2020 online time will be 7 hours a day, with the majority of that time being on-demand streaming video. More data, more centers, more chances for something to go wrong.

However, all is not lost. There are things you can do to mitigate a downtime disaster for your business:

1) He who laughs last has a backup. Back up your files regularly, both on a local hard drive and in cloud storage.

2) Uptime is prime time. Choose an internet hosting provider with a proven track record of stability and an uptime guarantee, then at least your site will be up most of the time. Here are some good providers to consider.

3) A healthy system is a happy system. Do not skimp on quality malware/virus protection, here are some great options.

Some of these measures apply to not only your website files, but to local systems as well. Thinking locally, other steps you may consider include: ensuring you have a fast and stable internet connection, automated system monitoring and efficient heating and cooling systems.

Your site going down is not a question of if, it’s a question of when. You need to be ready for such an event, as the impact of downtime can only be diminished by proper preparation. The core of your business is made of – and runs on – tiny bits of information. Lose them, and you may very well lose your business.

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