Matthew Ashe
Matthew Ashe Executive Head: Data Centres

Businesses today have an unprecedented level of dependence on data and technology. The wheels that keep company operations turning are servers – and when those servers crash, productivity grinds to a halt. Unplanned, sudden server downtime is a nightmare for CEOs with serious consequences that include financial and data losses as well as diminished productivity. But the true cost can extend to significant damage to the brand.

hand working on a data centre rack

Big brand failures

Server outages have struck many large companies and organisations in recent years, including banks and airlines. The Bank of America made headline news when their online banking systems crashed and stayed down for several days in 2013, leaving thousands of customers unable to access their accounts. Arguably even worse was the server downtime experienced by Virgin Blue in 2010, when the airline’s reservation, check-in and boarding systems became unusable for almost 11 days. Passengers were unable to take the flights they had scheduled and were – understandably – irate.

Negative press in the 21st century

A spate of cyberattacks knocked out Twitter, Spotify, Shopify, and other major brands earlier this year, and even the New York Times didn’t go unscathed. Because Reddit went down too, some disgruntled users were forced to wait to voice their frustrations online. But this is one of the impact factors in the reputational damage that can be wrought by server downtime. Social media channels and other opinion-sharing platforms make it easy for today’s customers to vent their outrage – and even easier for it to be shared with thousands of others around the globe. It’s negative press 2.0, and it can scupper a brand overnight.

When First National Bank suffered server downtime that affected their online banking and mobile app in 2015, their customers were displeased – and vocal about it. They took to Twitter with force – and many of those tweets will remain in cyberspace for years to come.

Weakened customer relations

Once the damage has been done by server downtime, it’s not easy to repair. The modern customer is not required to exercise patience or understanding. If they are unable to access the services or products they want when they want them, there is not much stopping them from moving to a different provider. Competitors can and do take advantage of server blackouts to poach customers. They may even spread the word about your difficulties to bolster their efforts.

Your customers might not jump ship at the first outage, but their confidence and trust will be eroded over time. The more frequently server downtime occurs, the higher the chances of them leaving. Potential new customers are also likely to opt to engage with a company that seems more reliable and professional.

Hidden staff costs

The corrosion of relations does not only apply to customers; server issues can negatively impact staff morale and performance too. They might become frustrated at the inability to effectively complete their work, as well as demoralised – if customers start leaving, they might consider a similar course of action.

How data centres can help

Investing in a quality data centre substantially lowers the risk of server downtime. Outsourcing your data centre – and its maintenance – to experts is cost effective not only in terms of finances but brand credibility too.

Internet Solutions offers unique hosting and co-location cloud computing that is telco-agnostic and provides the ideal location as a hub for online business. Providing stability and security, their services can also be seamlessly integrated with an organisation’s Cloud Managed Services and Cloud Security Services to deliver an end-to-end hosting solution.

To learn more about colocation hosting and the benefits of data centres, download our free guide today.

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