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Volume 31, Issue 4

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With the increasing reliance on today's computer systems and networks for the day to day running of businesses, there is an imminent threat to business continuity. Computer systems can be affected by a variety of sources, power outages, water leaks, systems failures, etc. Most companies have some sort of backup system in place, example UPS for power failure, but fail to take into account other hidden factors.

It is no longer a question if you will experience system or environmental failures, but when. The 10 question quiz that follows can assist in assessing your company's risk of experiencing downtime due to system or environment failures.

How many hours of continual data processing does your business do over a 24 hour period? Threat: The average company's hourly downtime accounts for $78,000 in lost revenue.

8 hours or less (10 points)
8 to 16 hours (75 points)
16 to 24 hours (100 points)

How much downtime can your business afford? Threat: Computer downtime cost U.S. businesses $4 billion a year, primarily through lost revenue.

1 week to 1 month (10 pts)
2 days to 1 week (75 pts)
1 day or less (100 pts)

What is your business system or data worth? Threat: 43% of U.S. businesses never re-open after a disaster experience and 29% close within 2 years.

$10,000 or less (10 pts)
$10,000 to 100,000 (75 pts)
$100,000 or more (100 pts)

How many users does your computer system support? Threat: The manufactoring industry lost an average of $421,000 per incident of online computer systems downtime.

1 to 10 users (10 pts)
10 to 100 users (75 pts)
100 or more users (100 pts)

How much down time have you experienced over last year?
Threat: The average company's computer system was down 9 times per year for an average of 4 hours each time.

20 hours or less (10 pts)
20 to 150 hours (75 pts)
150 or more hours (100 pts)

How many hours is your data center unattended? Threat: The average company's hourly downtime cost an average of $330,000 per outage.

1 hour or less (10 pts)
1 hour to 8 hours (75 pts)
8 hours or more (100 pts)

What percentage of your systems & environmental conditions (temperature, water, smoke) are you monitoring with an early detection system? Threat: Environmental incidents accounted for 10.3% of business interruptions in the past 5 years.

90% or more (10 pts)
70 to 90% (75 pts)
70% or less (100 pts)

How many hours has your UPS had to back up your system this year? Threats: Power problems accounted for 29.48% of U.S. computer outages.

3 or less hours (10 pts)
3 to 8 hours (75 pts)
8 or more hours (100 pts)

If your system went down on Friday at midnight, how long would it be before you are notified? Threat: A 1993 Gallup/GRN survey reported that Fortune 1,000 companies average 1.6 hours of LAN downtime per week [that is over 2 weeks per year].

3 or less hours (10 pts)
3 to 8 hours (75 pts)
8 or more hours (100 pts)

How many people have access to your main computer room? Threats: Human error accounted for 34.4% of business interruptions in the past 5 years.

3 or less (10 pts)
3 to 10 (75 pts)
10 or more (100 pts)


165 and Under' Your computer room is either very well protected or your business won't be affected by computer down time.
165-179' You have trouble spots in your computer room; proactive steps taken now will help you avoid trouble in the future.
800 and over' Your computer room and quite possibly your job are in serious jeopardy. Look into ways of securing your computer room before disaster strikes. Time is ticking.

Barbara Kolbl is the Product Marketing Manager for BTI Computer Systems in Sunnyvale, CA.