Why 27 hours? Well, because according to a recent survey that’s the average downtime that a UK business experiences during a year, which incidentally is the highest in Europe.

Depending on the size of the organisation, it is estimated that the cost per hour of downtime is anywhere from £7,000-£700,000.

This may seem like a lot of money, but aside from the frustration and inconvenience of IT downtime, there are many more far reaching and costly consequences to factor in, for example:


Loss of staff productivity

A relatively simple cost to calculate based on the number of hours of productivity lost during the downtime multiplied by the average hourly wage multiplied by the number of staff.


Cost to fix the problem

Whether it be IT experts, replacement hardware, additional software etc, there is likely to be a direct and measurable cost associated with getting your systems up and running again.


Inability to service customers

During the downtime, your order taking systems, delivery systems, production systems and/or communications systems may be unavailable, preventing you from servicing your customers.


Compliance breaches / fines

With strict MHRA and HIPAA regulations surrounding the availability and integrity of data, there is the potential for a compliance breach to occur. With GDPR now added into the mix too, some downtime incidents (such as a cyber-attack) also have the potential for an associated data breach, and punitive fines and reputational damage under GDPR.


Compensation claims

Where your customers experience a loss of service as a result of the outage, compensation may be payable for inconvenience or even for breach of contract.


Reputational damage / Potential loss of customers

Whilst some of the immediate costs are fairly transparent, the knock on impact on the company’s reputation and customer base may be less visible, and much more far reaching. In a competitive marketplace, where customers demand the highest standards, the impact of an outage and the associated disruption, may even lead your customers to decide to work with a different supplier.


It makes eminent sense then, to build IT systems that are highly resilient and secure and minimise the risk of a downtime incident.

However, with the best planning in the world, occasionally the unexpected will happen and therefore it is also vital to have contingency plans to fall back on, so that if the worst does happen, you know that you can recover your systems and data quickly, and with minimum disruption to the business.


Some questions to consider:

·         If you had an IT system failure today, how long would it take to recover your systems?

·         How would the business carry on trading in the meantime?

·         How confident are you that everything could be successfully recovered, in the timeframe required by the business?


If the answers to any of these questions are unclear, then it may be time to get an independent disaster recovery audit of your business network carried out, including all servers and workstations, which will provide a benchmark of your current backup and disaster recovery position as well as a customized, data-driven list of recommendations for any improvements that are required.


I hope you have found this article thought provoking.  Should it have raised any questions or you would like information on Epoq IT’s range of data backup, disaster recovery and independent D/R assessment services for pharmaceutical companies, which are designed to assess and mitigate business risk around IT outages, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01494 444065 or by email on gary.swanwick@epoq-it.co.uk.


Epoq IT work with small and medium size pharmaceutical businesses, providing consultancy, methodologies and technologies that bring clarity and give control over IT back to the business – putting the business in the driving seat of IT spend, compliance and security. For more information on our services please visit our website http://epoq-it.co.uk/pharmaceuticals.


This blog forms part of our series of informational resources for senior pharmaceutical professionals. To read more articles, please visit my blog, IT in Pharmaceuticals.



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