Downtime is many businesses' worst fear and can cost not only money and time, but also customers or clients if it creates too much disruption, as well as causing lasting damage to a firm's reputation.
However, unfortunately for businesses, the issue of downtime is a very real one, with figures from CA Technologies showing that each business suffers around 14 hours worth of downtime a year, during which employees can only work at 63 per cent capacity.
And while the majority of companies appear to be aware of the negative implications such downtime can have, with half saying it damages their reputation and 87 per cent expressing concerns that they would lose valuable data, few seem inclined or able to take steps to prevent it.
A recent study by Emerson Network Power and the Ponemon Institute highlighted the true cost of such data centre outages at a massive $5,000 (around £3,000) per minute in terms of lost revenue and productivity, damaged data, stakeholder trust and legal repercussions.
And with the average outage, including recovery time lasting around 134 minutes, businesses can find themselves around $680,000 out of pocket. The cost of outages is even greater for firms which depend solely on data centres to deliver all their IT and network services, amounting to over $1 million in extreme cases.
In terms of recovering from and reducing these outages, the vast majority of data centre professionals questioned said that a lack of resources prevented them from taking action as effectively as they would like. Just 37 per cent said they had ample resources to get their data centre back up and running in the event of an unplanned outage.
"With the increase in reliance on IT systems to support business-critical applications, a single downtime event now has the potential to significantly impact the profitability – and in extreme cases, the viability – of an enterprise," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, a research centre focused on privacy, data protection and information security policy.
"Left unattended, an inadequate data centre infrastructure will contribute to recurring downtime events and result in significant financial losses as well as permanent damage to a company's reputation and customer goodwill."
With many businesses lacking the means to bring their data centres back, it could be that handing over the reins to a managed hosting provider could be the most effective course of action.
One of the main benefits of a reliably-managed hosting provider is the guarantee that downtime will be minimal, and that there will be a team of professionals working on any issues as soon as they arise.
And it seems that chief information officers are waking up to this, as well as the other benefits managed hosting solutions provide.
A recent study by Bloomberg found that managed services are set to attract a hefty proportion of companies' rising IT budgets, with over half (55 per cent ) of respondents saying they plan to spend more money in this area.
With downtime having such a huge impact on companies' bottom lines, as well as their reputations, any cash spent on managed hosting could prove to be money well invested.
Peter Panfil, vice president and general manager, Emerson Network Power, said: "While minimising the risk of outages may necessitate an up-front capital investment, those investments can be offset by lower downtime costs and savings from increased operational efficiencies."