IT downtime has taken a toll on the enterprise as 51% of IT leaders report an increase in downtime since March 2020, according to a LogicMonitor survey of 600 global IT decision makers. More than 60% of decision makers say a brownout or outage caused lost productivity.
Over the last three years, almost all enterprises have experienced an IT brownout or outage, 97% and 94%, respectively, according to the report. More than 40% report lost revenue due to outages or brownouts and about one-third say they have experienced brand or reputation damage.
IT departments aren't always to blame for a lapse in service affecting business continuity. Platforms and servers deployed by a vendor occasionally flop, such as during the Slack, AWS and Verizon Fios outages, forcing an enterprise to pick up the pieces.
Technology hiccups have been a source of enterprise frustration for decades, but the rise of remote work only exacerbated dissatisfaction among leadership and employees.
Slack kicked off the first Monday of 2021 with an outage lasting several hours disrupting enterprises' internal communications and collaboration. With other options to pivot to — from chat to good, old-fashioned email — many carried on with minor inconvenience.
But not every outage has an easy workaround.
A cut cable in Brooklyn, New York took out Verizon Fios internet in cities across the East Coast last month. Downtime ballooned as other major IT service providers reported outages linked to Fios and some remote employees were stuck offline.
Investing in a hotspot for every remote employee or other web support could have helped the enterprise overcome the outage, but that investment requires forethought. The logistics of executing remote wireless support in the moment are tricky.
Responsibility often falls on the business — not the vendor — to respond to these outages. In the case of November's AWS outage, the disruption hindered business operations from cloud to IoT. Organizations best suited to overcome the issue had back-up clouds with up-to-date data in other regions or with other providers.
Planning for failure with a back-up plan in place can ensure business continuity when a brownout or outage occurs — but it can be costly. IT leaders are left to consider with other enterprise decision makers the cost of downtime and whether it's worth the investment to duplicate systems for continuity.
To prevent future outages and brownouts, LogicMonitor recommends breaking down siloes between IT operations and developers, investing in a unified observability platform, an agile approach to work, staying on top of IT trends and avoiding business-disrupting outages at all costs.