The True Cost of Downtime in 2024

Emma Challinor

Chief Creative Officer

May 24, 2024

Have you ever paused during a busy workday to consider what would happen if your systems suddenly went down? No emails, no transactions, no data access— just like that, productivity grinds to a halt. 

Downtime in today’s fast-paced business environment isn't just about technical glitches; it's about the very real cost it imposes on your business— a cost that can be catastrophic. 

This is the "cost of downtime," which every business owner must take seriously. Not addressing this could be more damaging than you might think. 

Let's explore the significance of this issue and why ensuring minimal downtime is essential for your business's longevity and success.

Cost of downtime in 2024: What you should know

What is downtime for small businesses? 

When we talk about downtime, what exactly do we mean? Simply put, it’s those moments when your IT systems are unavailable. This could be due to system failures, maintenance, or even cyber-attacks.

For any business, especially yours, the cost of downtime is more than just an annoyance—it’s a direct hit to your productivity and profitability. Each minute lost can mean missed opportunities and lost revenue.

Types of downtime

Understanding types of downtime in business operations

There are different types of downtime your business might face. Knowing these can significantly help in crafting a more robust IT strategy.

Planned downtime

Planned downtime refers to scheduled interruptions for system maintenance or upgrades. These are essential for ensuring your systems stay up-to-date and secure.


  • Allows for installation of updates and essential maintenance.
  • Reduces the risk of unexpected failures and security breaches.
  • Can be scheduled during off-peak hours to minimise impact.


  • It requires downtime that might affect productivity if it is not well-planned.
  • It may still cause inconvenience, especially if extended beyond the expected time.

Unplanned downtime

Unplanned downtime occurs without warning due to failures or external events. This is what businesses fear most because it's unpredictable and can result in a higher cost of downtime. 


  • Opportunities to identify vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure.
  • Can strengthen disaster recovery plans through real-world stress testing.


  • Direct impact on business operations and revenue.
  • Potential loss of data and erosion of customer trust.
  • Often incurs high recovery costs.

While planned downtime is manageable and often necessary, unplanned downtime poses a serious threat to operational continuity and financial stability. Effectively managing these issues helps mitigate the cost of downtime and maintain a resilient and reliable IT infrastructure.

How common is downtime

How common is downtime per minute? 

Downtime might seem rare, but it's more common than you might think. Understanding its frequency can change how you manage your IT infrastructure.

According to Forbes, downtime, both planned and unplanned, can consume between 1% and 10% of a company's available production time. 

This might not sound like much initially, but let's break it down: even at the lower end, that's over 87 hours a year. That's more than three full days of halted operations, potentially costing businesses significant lost revenue.

Why does this matter to you? Because every minute your system is down, you're not just losing money; you're losing opportunities, customer satisfaction, and potentially even customer loyalty.

Causes of downtime

Common causes of downtime costs

What exactly leads to downtime? This concerns something other than bad luck but rather tangible, often preventable issues. Let's explore the common culprits:

Hardware failures

Consider hardware failures first. These are your computers, servers, and physical devices that form the backbone of your IT infrastructure. Despite their robustness, they're prone to wear and tear.

Hard drives, power supplies, and cooling systems can fail without warning. When such hardware issues occur, the ripple effect on your operations can be immediate and severe.

Software glitches

Software issues are another major factor and a massive cost of downtime. These aren't just annoying bugs but potentially major glitches that can freeze your systems. 

An operating system crash or corrupted data files can bring your business to a standstill. Staying updated with regular software patches is crucial, yet it needs to be addressed.

Cyber attacks

The threat from cyber attacks is real and growing. Hackers target businesses large and small, with malware and ransomware capable of locking you out of your systems or shutting down your operations until a hefty ransom is paid.

Human error

Human error also plays a significant role. Even the most careful staff can make mistakes — misconfigurations, accidental deletions, or improper installations that lead to downtime are surprisingly common.

Network outages

Lastly, network outages can be a major disruptor. Issues with service providers, physical damage to connectivity lines, or infrastructure failures can all result in losing access to essential online services and applications.

Average cost of downtime

The average cost of downtime per minute in 2024

How much will downtime cost your business in 2024? Let's examine the figures and understand the real impact on your operations.

According to Forbes, the financial cost of downtime has recently soared. For large businesses, downtime now costs an average of $9,000 per minute. Yes, per minute. The numbers become even more startling when you think about industries with high stakes, like finance or healthcare. 

In these sectors, downtime expenses can reach up to $5 million per hour. And remember, these figures don't even account for any fines or penalties that might apply if service agreements are breached.

Negative impacts of downtime

Impact of downtime on productivity, data loss, etc.

What happens when your IT systems suddenly stop working? Let's examine the consequences and why it's crucial to take preventive actions.

Immediate operational halt

Firstly, the most visible effect of IT downtime is the immediate halt of business operations. When systems go down, everything from email communications to customer transactions is disrupted.

This can cause a significant loss in productivity, which in turn leads to financial losses. For every minute your system is down, you’re not just losing money; you're also losing time that could have been spent growing your business.

Customer trust and satisfaction

Downtime affects more than your internal operations; it impacts your customers, too. If your systems are consistently unreliable, customers may begin to question your professionalism and reliability.

This can lead to decreased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which are often much more complex and costly to rebuild than any IT system.

Data vulnerability

Data is at risk during downtime, especially if it is unexpected. Not only is there a risk of losing unsaved data, but system vulnerabilities can also be exposed to security threats, leading to potential data breaches. Each of these incidents can have serious legal and financial consequences.

Brand reputation

The long-term effects on your brand’s reputation can be devastating. News of frequent downtimes can spread quickly, particularly through social media, damaging your reputation.

Restoring a brand’s image is often a lengthy and costly process, far exceeding the cost of downtime itself.

Increased recovery costs & lost revenue

The cost of fixing downtime issues is not limited to immediate IT expenses. The longer the recovery time, the higher the costs, as more resources are dedicated to restoring operations.

Proactive investment in robust IT infrastructure and having a skilled IT team ready can significantly reduce these recovery times and costs.

Strategic setbacks

Lastly, downtime can delay or derail strategic initiatives. Projects that rely on timely data inputs, communication, or customer interactions can experience setbacks that affect current and future business opportunities.

Ways to avoid downtime

How to avoid downtime and reduce the true cost of downtime?

How can you effectively reduce downtime and its costly repercussions? Here’s a practical guide tailored for your business.

Conduct regular system maintenance

Prioritise routine maintenance of your IT infrastructure. This includes regular updates and checks to ensure everything functions as intended. Scheduled maintenance may seem like a hassle, but it prevents larger, unexpected breakdowns that could halt your entire operation.

Apply robust data backup solutions

Implement comprehensive backup solutions. Ensure your data is backed up at regular intervals. In the event of data loss due to hardware failure, cyber-attacks, or human error, you can restore operations quickly, significantly reducing downtime costs.

Use advanced cybersecurity measures

Strengthen your cybersecurity defences. Employ the latest in firewall protection, anti-virus software, and intrusion detection systems. Educating your staff on potential cyber threats is also vital. Well-informed employees are less likely to fall prey to phishing attacks that could bring your systems down.

Do a proactive monitoring

Use monitoring tools to monitor your systems' health in real time. These tools can alert you to irregularities before they escalate into serious problems that could cause a minute of downtime.

Invest in reliable hardware and software

Choose high-quality, reliable hardware and software from trusted suppliers. While it might seem cost-effective to go for cheaper options, the long-term reliability and support from reputable vendors can prevent frequent outages and associated costs.

Develop a solid disaster recovery plan

Having a robust disaster recovery plan in place is crucial. This plan should outline clear steps for recovery and business continuity in case of major disruptions. Regularly test and update the plan to ensure it’s effective when needed.

Why choose Clyk

Minimise your downtime with Clyk’s expertise

Downtime can strike like lightning, disrupting your operations without warning. Imagine, in just a moment, all your digital tools, the very lifeblood of your business, grinding to a halt. This isn't just an inconvenience—it can translate into significant financial losses.

Why wait for a crisis to occur? Clyk provides proactive solutions that minimise the risk and impact of downtime. 

Our expert team uses the latest technology to monitor, manage, and maintain your IT infrastructure. We understand that every second your systems are down, the cost of downtime ticks higher, draining your resources and potentially harming your reputation.

Are you ready to lower the cost of downtime? Let us be your partner in building a resilient, responsive IT environment. Reach out now and find out how we can help you turn IT from a risk to an asset.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average cost per minute of downtime for companies?

The average cost per minute of downtime is typically significant and varies widely depending on the industry vertical and the company’s downtime policies. Effective downtime prevention and managing downtime strategies are crucial to minimising these costs.

How often does downtime happen in major industries?

Downtime happens in every industry vertical, though the frequency and impact can vary. Industries heavily reliant on IT systems might experience downtime every few months if not appropriately managed.

What are the common causes of application downtime?

Application downtime can result from several factors, including software malfunctions, hardware failures, and cyber attacks. The risk of unplanned downtime in these applications demands continuous monitoring and updates.

How can calculating downtime costs help small businesses?

Calculating downtime costs allows small businesses to quantify the total cost and consequences of downtime. This calculation helps effectively strategise investments in downtime prevention measures.

What are the typical costs associated with downtime for businesses?

The costs associated with downtime include lost business, business disruption, and recovery expenses. Understanding these costs can help businesses implement more effective downtime management strategies.

How can companies effectively manage downtime?

Managing downtime involves preparing for and responding to downtime incidents quickly to reduce the duration of downtime and its impact on operations. Downtime doesn’t have to be a major setback if handled promptly and efficiently.

What impact does a minute of downtime have on small businesses?

A single minute of downtime for small businesses can lead to significant financial losses due to lost business and hours of downtime, especially in critical operational periods.