Downtime, IT Outages Put Strain on Small Businesses

Nearly half of IT pros said that it actually takes as long as, or longer, to identify the right individual as it does to resolve the actual problem.

it outages and management

Businesses are negatively impacted within a few minutes of an IT outage, yet locating the right person to investigate an IT issue often takes as long as, or longer than, resolving the issue, according to a survey of 304 IT professionals worldwide conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by communications platform developer xMatters.

Nearly half (45 percent) of all participants surveyed indicated that their business was impacted if IT was down just 15 minutes or less, but 17 percent indicated that their business was negatively affected the instant IT had any service interruptions.

, The survey also indicated that more than three-quarters (77 percent) of IT professionals have been told that IT is too slow to resolve key issues that are impacting the business.

"Not that long ago, if email or another service was down for 10 minutes, people waited patiently for it to come back up," Randi Barshack, CMO of xMatters, told eWEEK. "You can recognize service interruption by the angry employees banging computer keys with excessive force through gritted teeth. Sometimes these expectations actually impact the SLAs themselves and other times it’s just increased expectations."

Barshack explained that more diverse and distributed IT infrastructures have introduced a greater number of potential points of failure.

"Robust monitoring systems provide visibility across entire multi-system infrastructures, which is great, but more points of failure are now outside your environment, adding a level of complexity to the resolution process," she said.

When survey participants were asked how long it takes to identify the right individual to respond to a particular issue, 60 percent indicated 15 minutes or more.

Nearly half (47 percent) of IT professionals said that it actually takes as long as, or longer, to identify the right individual as it does to resolve the actual problem.

The vast majority (91 percent) of respondents indicated that poor incident communication increases downtime, while 87 percent indicated that guaranteed alert delivery would accelerate issue resolution, and 85 percent said issue resolution would be accelerated with single-click conferencing.

Ninety percent of respondents stated they believe that IT should provide additional strategic services beyond classical support of IT infrastructure and applications.

The survey results also indicate that digital data has replaced traditional brick and mortar assets as the most valuable, with 80 percent of respondents noting that the loss of digital data would have a more significant impact than the loss of buildings, vehicles or goods.

"We see resolution evolving in multiple ways. First and foremost, the ‘ludicrous’ needs to be eliminated," Barshack said. "Taking as long, or longer, to locate experts as it does to actually resolve the issue is ludicrous- especially when the technology exists to automate this entire process."

She said given the distributed and diverse environments of modern IT environments, resolution is going to be less about a single person restarting the server and more about collaboration between internal and external groups, and noted resolution will not be the sole focus but joined by communication as a key for resolution teams.