July 28, 2021

How long can/may my IT be down?

AuthorHans-Joachim Krüger

An IT outage is unpleasant, but cannot always be avoided. When it does happen, IT has to be up and running again quickly.

But how quickly does that actually have to happen?
Or: How long can my IT be down without it causing significant economic damage?

An economically significant loss...

... does not occur at all,

if the IT system is not a production system. These are, for example, test or demo systems. It doesn't matter if they fail or not. At some point, they'll be up and running again, and then it's back to business as usual. Nothing happens.

... is low,

if the system is for production, but does not have to be available permanently. Such systems are accounting, HR or archive systems. The following applies: If they are not available for one or two days, it is annoying, but there is no countable economic damage.

... is significant,

if the system is integrated into production, warehousing or commercial systems. The failure can be bridged for a short time, because there is still stock available. But after that the production stops, after that there is no more stock, after that there is no more information about customers, suppliers, orders or invoices.

The situation is harmless at the beginning, but after a longer time it starts to become critical. Such systems should not be down for hours. One or two hours is "OK", but after that it becomes problematic.

... is immense within a very short time,

if it is production systems which produces just-in-time, if it is e-commerce systems through which customer contact takes place, if it is core IT systems. Then business activity collapses within minutes. The standstill immediately costs enormous money. In addition to the financial damage it also damages the image. And this can be much greater than the financial disadvantage. A failed IT system can damage a company's image for years. The customer and the company remember such negative events for a long time.

The failure is one issue. But the second issue is: When will my IT be up and running again? And there are technical terms that define these times.

The importance of RTO and RPO

RTO is the abbreviation for Recovery Time Objective. It defines the time a system can be down.

RPO is Recovery Point Objective and defines the time between two backups and thus the possible data loss that can occur in the event of a failure.

For both terms, companies need answers for their IT. Of course, data loss must be close to zero, but it is not avoidable in all cases. Companies need to implement High Availability solutions. When do HA solutions become leveraged? In another Blog article I explain our TOP5 reasons why a High Availability solution will not work in an emergency.

Disaster recovery plans need to be in place. In case of an emergency, you have to be prepared, only then you will survive an IT failure with manageable damage.

Prevent the emergency with Libelle BusinessShadow®

With our Libelle BusinessShadow® solution for disaster recovery and high availability, you can mirror SAP® landscapes and other application systems with a time delay. Your company is thus protected not only against the consequences of hardware and application errors, but also against the consequences of natural hazards, sabotage or data loss due to human error.

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