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The Costliest Unplanned Downtimes

Updated: Dec 24, 2021



Unplanned downtime can lead to serious consequences, including reputational harm, revenue, data and productivity loss and financial penalties.


According to IBM Global Services study, the average revenue cost of an unplanned application outage was estimated to be nearly £2.1 million pounds per hour, with ITIC’s 2017 Reliability and Hourly Cost of Downtime Trends Survey stating 47% of SMBs estimate that just one hour of downtime means £77,000 in lost revenue and end-user productivity.


With so many companies depending upon their systems to keep operations up and running, there’s no shortage of real-world examples of what happens when things go wrong. Let’s take a look at some of the costliest unplanned downtimes:


1. Apple, March 2015.

When Apple's iTunes Store and App Store were taken out of commission on Wednesday thanks to a DNS issue, iPhone, iPad and Mac owners couldn't purchase apps, songs, movies or books. It took Apple 12 hours to get their systems up and running again, costing the company about US$25 million in lost sales.


2. Delta Airlines, August 2016

A five-hour power outage in an operation centre caused thousands of cancelled flights and an estimated loss of $150 million for Delta Airlines. The issue happened in Atlanta early on the morning of August 8th, causing computers needed to book in passengers and fly jets to be down for nearly five hours. The airline eventually cancelled about 1,000 flights on the day of the outage and ground an additional 1,000 flights over the following two days.


3. Facebook, March 2019.

Facebook suffered its worst-ever outage on Wednesday 13th March 2019. The downtime, which also hit related products Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, lasted for at least 14 hours. The blackout hit millions of users across the globe and caused Facebook stock to tumble 2 percent in after-hours trading. The outage cost was an estimated $90 million.


4. Lloyds, January 2019

Hundreds of thousands of customers of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) found themselves unable to make payments from their online accounts due to a computer glitch. The problem affected both making payments and being able to check accounts online to make sure money supposed to arrive direct into their account had been properly transferred.


Preparing for IT Downtime

With big companies like these experience these outages, it can make it seem unavoidable for the average company. But partnering with the right company can make outages preventable. At OverBright, as part of Our Cloud Managed Service Offering, we take time to understand the uptime requirements of workloads we support and designing the system to meet these requirements.


Public Cloud allows for easy hosting of services across availability zones or regions that with traditional on-premises data centres would be too costly to implement. Additionally, by leveraging public cloud you can rest assured with high Service Level Agreements and service credits available if these agreements are breached. But an outage of the business should be avoided, and that’s why we take time to design the hosting accordingly, recommending an appropriate decoupled highly available architecture where possible and always implementing backups and site recovery such that if an outage occurs, its impact is minimised.


Furthermore, our offering has recommended security features built-in like Web Application Firewalls and Role Based Access Control to help limit the threat from a malicious attack.


Learn more about OverBright Cloud Fully Managed Services


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