The 11 Leading Causes of Downtime

We’ve talked a lot about what downtime is and how it can affect a business — if you aren’t caught up, read our blogs “Why a Business Continuity Plan is More Than Just Data Backups” and “Downtime: How Much It Could Cost Your Business” — but we still need to talk about what causes downtime.

To answer that question, we look to a 2012 survey of Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) members who explored a variety of issues surrounding planned and unplanned downtime, alongside database high availability and disaster recovery solutions. The survey, underwritten by Oracle Corporation and conducted by Unisphere Research, used input from 358 data managers and professionals to find a variety of downtime issues and solutions. As to the different causes for downtime, multiple responses were permitted and collected for a three-year span. Read the full “Enterprise Data and the Cost of Downtime: 2012 IOUG Database Availability Survey” or read along with us as we dive into the top 11 causes of business downtime:

1. Network Outages

Network outages are the number one reason for downtime — 50%, in fact! This leading cause of downtime also accounted for 42% of downtime for large-volume data sites and 53% of downtime for all other sites.  

2. Human Error

When looking for the cause of downtime by data volume alone (and large volume sites), human error is the number one culprit — it leads the way with 58% for large volume sites and 44% for all other sites. In general, however, human error accounts for 45% of downtime.

3. Server Failures

Like human error, server failures account for 45% of downtime. For large-volume data sites and all other sites, server failures account for 44% and 46%, respectively, of downtime.

4. Storage Failures

Storage failures account for 42% of downtime, but with large-volume data sites and all other sites, those numbers rise to 45% and 44%, respectively.

5. Application Errors

Application errors account for 31% of downtime, but those numbers rise to 37% and 33%, respectively, for large-volume data sites and all other sites.

6. Power Outages

Power outages account for 23% of downtime. For large-volume data sites, that percentage drops to 13%, but for all other sites, power outages account for 28% of downtime.

7. Usage Spikes/Surges

Usage spikes and surges account for 13% of downtime. For large-volume sites and all other sites, the percentages rise to 19% and 15%, respectively.

8. Natural Disasters or Weather Events

While frightening, natural disasters and weather events account for a very low percentage of business downtime — only 10%, in fact! That’s great for all, but what about the businesses or nonprofits who believe they reside in a “safe zone,” weather wise? Just like everyone else, they can’t be complacent about their company’s disaster recovery plan! When you look at the primary causes of downtime above, it’s easy to see why no one should take data protection lightly or have the “it won’t happen to us” mentality. No matter how safe you think your area is from a natural disaster, you’re always going to be far more likely to lose data due to a server malfunction or by an employee.

9. Third-Party Supplier or Cloud Outages

10% of downtime can be attributed to third-party supplier or cloud outages.

10. Don’t Know/Unsure

7% of downtime is caused by unknown issues.

11. Other

2% of downtime can be attributed to other causes.

What’s Your Business’s Downtime Plan?

Downtime has a cost — you can calculate yours here — and its staggering effects can be felt on both business and IT operational levels. The good news is, you can minimize or eliminate those business interruptions with sophisticated IT help and business continuity planning (bonus: here are 5 ways business continuity plans can improve IT & your profitability). For instance, Integracon’s multi-layered approach to business continuity not only works to address all sources of failure but also creates a plan for quick data recovery. The result? Downtime is reduced from hours and days to minutes and seconds, effectively saving money and possibly your business itself. Before downtime strikes, give Integracon a call to discuss an essential element of today’s business and data availability — your business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

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