Festive season prime time for IT outages warn experts

Experts are warning companies to be prepared for severe IT outages as the countdown to Christmas and the onslaught of last minute bargain buying begins.

With the cost of IT outages and downtime, outages and failures costing UK businesses in excess of £12 billion in lost productivity in 20151, experts are warning companies to be prepared as the countdown to Christmas and the onslaught of last minute bargain buying begins.

Jason Fry, IT specialist at PAV i.t. services, says, ‘Failure of IT systems is a huge issue for businesses and can be potentially fatal to their finances and extremely damaging to their reputations.

‘The problem is especially prevalent around this time of year when systems are under a huge amount of strain from the demands being placed on them. For example, retailers that are experiencing high levels of custom – either online or in store – during the run up to Christmas Day.’

Systems failures themselves are behind the most major IT outages reported this year including one of the world’s largest online retailers Amazon, which experienced a 20-minute outage in March at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion to its business. And in September tens of thousands of British Airways customers faced travel disruption when the airline’s check-in systems at Heathrow and Gatwick failed.

Jason continues, ‘These days we are so used to being able to have everything at the touch of a button that when things go wrong the impact can be felt far and wide. It’s not just a minor inconvenience for the customer in question, but a huge headache for companies who will not only face the financial consequences and subsequent effects on their bottom line, but also the potential backlash from a swathe of angry customers on the internet, which undoubtedly affects their reputation.’

In an increasingly competitive world where businesses are continuously under pressure to deliver a better and more efficient service at a cheaper cost to the consumer, IT outages can render companies helpless and unable to deliver on their promises.

Jason adds ‘It is essential that companies address these issues before they arise to avoid any unnecessary complications in the future. One way of doing this is by ensuring that their systems and operations are regularly reviewed and updated. In the short term, companies should at least make sure they have the basics covered such as an appropriate internet connection and servers that meet their business requirements.’

Further reading on IT outages

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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