The Cost of Unplanned Downtime to Your Business

2nd March 2021 | Posted in Cyber Security, IT Services

How much revenue would your business lose due to unplanned downtime of IT systems or business applications and how would you recover?

Many businesses invest heavily to ensure their IT infrastructures are secure and reliable. Unfortunately, many organisations continue to deal with unplanned downtime that can last from minutes, hours, even days. Unplanned downtime is not only an IT departmental issue but critically a vital business issue. The bottom line is that during outages, company revenue is negatively affected, causing irrecoverable losses. In the current climate where businesses are battling for survival against the pandemic and lockdowns, the cost of such an outage is the difference between remaining afloat or closing its doors.

According to a study by IBM Global Services, the average revenue cost of an unplanned outage was estimated to be nearly £2.1 million pounds per hour. IT disruptions can affect the entire service chain and life cycle of an organisation, from its staff and stakeholders to customers and contractors. 49% of surveyed enterprises within the same survey list data recovery as a top technical challenge, and 53% rank loss of revenue as a top business challenge of outages.

The ITIC’s Reliability and Hourly Cost of Downtime Trends Survey also state that 47% of SMBs estimate that just one hour of downtime costs £77,000 in lost revenue and end-user productivity. For large enterprises, these costs can climb into the millions, especially for data-driven industries like healthcare, finance, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and utilities.

unplanned downtime


The revenue impact from unplanned downtime

Unscheduled downtime affects different organisations in various ways, so it is important to calculate and understand the financial impacts. According to estimates from studies performed by IT industry analyst firms, the average cost to businesses of IT system downtime for every hour offline is between £65,000 and £83,000. Additionally, energy services, financial services, telecommunication, and manufacturing lead the list of industries with a high rate of revenue loss during IT downtime.

According to Dunn & Bradstreet, 59% of Fortune 500 companies experience a minimum of 1.6 hours of downtime per week. To put this in perspective, a company that has 50 employees who are paid an average salary of £40 per hour would suffer downtime costs of at least £3200 in labour alone. The simplest way to calculate potential revenue losses during an outage is by using this equation:

Lost revenue = (GR/TH) x I x H

  • GR = gross yearly revenue
  • TH = total yearly business hours
  • I = percentage impact
  • H = number of hours of outage



For a more precise and accurate representation of lost revenue due to unplanned downtime, view one of our technology partner’s Recovery Time & Downtime Cost Calculator.


Reputation and customer loyalty impact from downtime

Customer satisfaction, trust and loyalty may be damaged due to an outage causing further suffering to company revenue. Downtime also results in lost employee productivity, which can be measured in terms of the salaries, wages, and benefits of idled employees. After a downtime event, remedial actions are often required to repair the damage, such as overtime and external contractors, which can accumulate further business costs.


Key factors of an outage include:

  • Ransomware payments
  • Man in the middle attacks that change bank details for supplier payments
  • Cost of members of staff sat twiddling their thumbs
  • eCommerce functions and applications restricting new orders
  • VoIP systems reliant on IT infrastructure stopping internal and external calls
  • Unawareness of finances owed in and out
  • Reputation to the company for lack of communication and customer service
  • Unable to measure clients who don’t continue business due to lack of service
  • Reimplementation of previous orders once the systems are back up dependant on your RPO – Recovery Point Objective (Restoration point of the last back up that was taken)
  • Staff overtime costs to the company to mitigate order backlogs
  • Forced upgrade of security after the event instead of working to a budgeted timeline
  • Remote staff locked out of essential IT systems
  • Missed electronic diarised meetings
  • Delayed salary payment to employees
  • Becoming an easy target on hackers’ radars, including Dark Web listing


How can CYFOR Secure help with downtime prevention?

When partnering with CYFOR Secure, a business can expect a host of benefits that go above and beyond normal IT service agreements. As ISO 27001 & 9001 accredited Cyber Security & IT Support experts we have at our disposal the latest technologies that we can implement to secure your systems while maintaining comprehensive IT support across your servers and networks. This includes monthly dark web scanning to ensure your company data hasn’t been compromised. In the event of a disaster, how far back can you go without data? Traditionally businesses run a backup at the end of the day, so the worst-case scenario is that you will lose a complete day of data. With our services, we can set recovery points to be as little as every 15 min, with external cloud backups to ensure data safety.


Get a Free Consultation for your Business


    0330 133 1250

    CYFOR Secure
    PO Box 266
    M24 0BY

    0330 133 1250

    CYFOR Secure
    PO Box 266
    M24 0BY