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5 Steps to Deal with Business Downtime

By: SmallBizClub

 

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1. Find and identify the issues.

 
Firstly, as it says on the back of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t panic.” If this downtime is scheduled then you should have a plan in place to go about getting server maintenance, whether it’s installing patches or upgrading hardware, done quickly and efficiently. Sometimes however these things don’t go to plan.
 
Unexpected downtime can happen at any time and accidents happen, though we should note that they should always try to be mitigated. If someone does trip over a RJ45 cable and brings down the network then you should generally have some network monitoring in place that will quickly alert you to the issue.
 
Find out what parts of business are being impacted and identify the issue. Once this has been done you’ll find yourself in a much better situation to deal with the downtime.
 
Of course, if a single RJ45 causes network downtime you should probably look at the rest of your infrastructure, as there may be some issues in that department. Downtime through human error may mean that there may need to be some changes in policy around networking and management of your IT estate.
 
2. Getting things up and running.
 
The main priority around all outages is to get the affected services back up and running as quickly as possible. Quickly diagnosing what went wrong is an important first step, though dependent on the size and scale of the issue at hand but the team involved should be focused on getting the issue rectified.
 
3. Communication across employees and users.
 
If you do suffer outages, it’s critical to keep employees or external users of your systems aware of the issues, as communication is key. If you’ve got a large user base that has been knocked offline, it’s time to take to social media. Twitter can be an excellent way of touching base with your customers, depending on your users. O2 dealt with a network outage with some of the best social media support seen which can lighten the mood of an angry customer base.
 
4. Identify what went wrong in the aftermath.
 
Service has been fully restored. Though now you get to ask the real questions about downtime.
 
  • How did this happen?
  • How did you rectify the issue?
  • What changes need to be made to stop this from happening again?
 
5. Be proactive about future investments.
 
While reactive support may be required to happen while an outage is going on, to fix the issue permanently there must proactive measures put into place to actively address issues that may cause outages. Employing better policies, investing in hardware & migrating away from legacy systems can be deployed to try to mitigate downtime. Downtime is rarely a single case issue and usually is the symptom of a more troubling problem, from lack of resources through to inadequate investment in IT.
 
briankingAuthor: This article was written by Brian King, Digital Marketing Manager at Opsview, a network monitoring firm.
 
Published: March 26, 2014
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