We all know that downtime caused by IT outages can be costly. As much as $300,000 per hour according to Gartner. But, the additional costs of downtime are not always reported. And they can be nothing short of significant.

Take the 2017 British Airways outage as an example. It stranded 75,000 passengers and, as a result, saw £170 million drained from its market value. A similar outage for Southwest Airlines, caused by a router failure, led to over 2,000 cancelled flights and an estimated cost of between $54 million and $82 million in lost revenue. Beyond diminished share value, longer-term repercussions of such outages can add further devastation. The drip-drip effect on brand reputation and the potential loss of trust, is hard to roll back.

Past, Present and Future Technology – In a Single View
Today’s IT environments are comprised of a mishmash of old and new technology. From legacy proprietary systems, virtual machines and hybrid cloud accounts to IoT endpoints, physical and virtual networks and so much more, the composition of the enterprise is riddled with complexity. This spawns siloed systems and layers of opacity that can prevent the visibility and insight needed to gain a full picture of the environment’s health, availability and capacity. Add to that the increasing use of multiple cloud environments, and shadow IT infrastructures, and the risk for downtime grows exponentially. The more unwieldy the mix of legacy, modern and cloud components, the greater the chance one could fail at any moment.

IT disaster recovery planning can no longer be ignored
IT operations monitoring can help prevent business services failures

To fully manage the ever-complex environment, organizations need to employ comprehensive monitoring that spans the diversity of the infrastructure. Even more, eliminate the use, and risk, of multiple point-system monitoring tools. They’ll only create greater complexity. The most effective hybrid environment monitoring solutions will deliver visibility across all the servers, networks, storage, clouds and virtual systems that lie behind each application – no matter how legacy or modern the environment. In this way, IT operations can have a much clearer view into early warning signs of the issues that might cause downtime and resolve them before customers are impacted.

Monitoring and Automation Reduces the Human Error Factor
While many assume that most outages are out of their control, or malicious in nature, according to an article written by Gartner, “the undisputed #1 cause of network outages is human error.” A Ponemon Institute report also found that human error was the second most common cause of system failure – and therefore business downtime – accounting for around 22% of all incidents.

The “human factor” can be avoided. By using both comprehensive monitoring and automation organizations can not only detect failures more quickly, but even have pre-determined processes implemented automatically and much more quickly than it may take administrators to pinpoint the failure and implement remediation.

For example, humans shouldn’t need to touch a server when it comes to organizational processes – this should be automated to ensure a consistent high performance. An automated approach ensures that infrastructure is well-maintained and more resilient. This, in turn, drives down cost and enables the organization to focus on more strategic areas of the business which includes driving customer satisfaction and growth.

Flipping the Switch to “Always On”
The digital business has no appetite for IT outages. The environment must be “always on,” without exception, to not only support efficient customer processes but the digital transformation that can arm the business with a greater competitive advantage. To achieve this level of availability, businesses must adopt new processes and tools that leverage the very best of the systems we have today – regardless of their hybrid mix of technology. In doing so, they can achieve the virtual zero-downtime model.

Adopting best practice operational activities, processes and monitoring – such as running regular threat and vulnerability assessments, conducting configuration reviews and including operation process validation checkpoints – can significantly reduce the chances of a system failure. By implementing comprehensive, real-time monitoring that offers complete integration with hardware, application stacks (on-premises or in the cloud), service desks and notification software, the hybrid enterprise can avoid the high cost of IT outages and the ongoing consequence they may have on brand reputation and stock value.