We're all living in a 24/7/365 world. So, keeping your important resources up and functional is crucial to your company's success – in fact, it's the bare minimum in the modern era.
That means your IT systems can't crash, or else profits do. In fact, downtime can cost enterprises anywhere between $301k-$400k for every hour an IT system is down.
Alas, sometimes things do go wrong. And what will matter is how good of a handle you have on things from the get-go, and how quickly you're able to recover. At CyberMedics, we're going to share some expert tips on how to keep your system from going down.
Ready? Let's go!
What causes system downtime anyway?
Before we dive into the tips, let's first understand the root causes of system downtime. This way, we can prevent these issues from happening in the first place. Here are some of the most common reasons why systems go down:
Power grid and network outages – it's no secret that servers need power to run, so while rare, if there's an outage in the area, it could spell trouble for your system.
Hardware failures – all electronic components have a limited lifespan, so it's important to keep an eye on your system's hardware and replace anything that looks like it might be going bad.
Criminal activity – unfortunately, in today's age, hackers are more sophisticated than ever and can target even the most secure systems. This is why it's important to have a robust security protocol in place.
Software crashes – sometimes, despite our best efforts, software can still crash. This is usually due to a coding error or incompatible code between different programs.
Poorly-prepared architecture – if your system wasn't designed with redundancy and scalability in mind, it's more likely to go down when things go wrong. You always want a highly efficient, end-to-end software development process handled by professionals.
Now that we know some of the most common causes of system downtime, let's move on to the tips.
#1 Take to the clouds
One way to prevent system downtime is to invest in cloud storage solutions. Cloud-based systems are more resilient because they're not reliant on a single physical location.
If one server goes down, your data is still safe and sound on the cloud. And because the cloud is constantly backed up, you don't have to worry about losing any data if something happens to your system. Not to mention, cloud-based systems are much easier to scale and upgrade than traditional on-premise systems. So as your business grows, you can easily add more storage and processing power without having to invest in new hardware.
With the right development company, your architecture can be designed properly, and safeguards put in place to ensure that everything works as effectively as possible.
#2 Implement highly scalable hardware architectures and load-balancing solutions
Another way to keep your system from going down is to invest in scalable hardware architectures. This means that your system can grow and change as your business needs do.
Additionally, you want to make sure that you have a load-balancing solution in place. Load balancers distribute traffic evenly across different servers so that no single server is overwhelmed. This way, if one server does go down, the others can pick up the slack without any interruption in service.
CyberMedics specializes in helping companies create scalable systems that are designed to prevent downtime. We can help you load-balance your traffic and ensure that your system can handle anything that's thrown its way.
#3 Keep everything polished – patch, update, and upgrade
Setting a regular schedule for maintenance is crucial for preventing system downtime.
You want to make sure that you're constantly patching, updating, and upgrading your system. This way, you can fix any security vulnerabilities and prevent software crashes before they happen. For example, Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle have a thing called Patch Tuesdays, where they release software and security patches for their products every second Tuesday of the month.
If you're not using patched software, you could be opening yourself up to attacks. For example, the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 took advantage of a vulnerability in Windows XP – an operating system that was no longer being patched by Microsoft. As a result, hospitals, businesses, and individuals were left scrambling to recover their data.
So patching, updating, and upgrading your system is not only important for preventing downtime, but also for keeping your data safe. Additionally, it's important to keep an eye on your hardware and replace anything that looks like it might be going bad. With proper maintenance, you can keep your system running like a well-oiled machine.
#4 Deploy active-active clusters for your core IT systems
If you want to achieve true high availability, you need to have an active-active cluster in place for your core IT systems.
An active-active cluster is a group of servers that are all actively processing data and transactions. This way, if one server goes down, the others can pick up the slack without any interruption in service.
Additionally, active-active clusters are much more scalable than traditional active-passive clusters (which are also known to be less secure, with more reports of losing data and critical emails). So as your business grows, you can easily add more servers to the cluster without having to invest in new hardware.
#5 Do your load testing
Load testing is a performance test that simulates real-world traffic conditions to see how your system will hold up.
This is important because you want to make sure that your system can handle anything that's thrown its way. For example, if you're expecting a surge in traffic during the holidays, you want to make sure that your system can handle the increased load.
Additionally, load testing can help you find bottlenecks in your system so that you can fix them before they cause any downtime. At CyberMedics, we always make sure the new systems we develop for our clients can handle their expected traffic loads before we go live. This way, our clients can avoid any nasty surprises down the road.
So, if you're worried about your system going down, make sure to do some load testing to see how it holds up under pressure.
#6 Build a robust tech stack behind your IT systems
It's never a good idea to rely on too many systems and technologies. Besides bugs and glitches, there's an excessive, unnecessary level of complexity. Make sure you use compatible solutions. If possible, use multiple technologies from the same company.
Additionally, make sure you have a robust tech stack in place so that if one system fails, the others can pick up the slack. For example, if you're using WordPress for your website, you might want to consider using a plugin like BackupBuddy to create backups of your site. That way, if your site ever goes down, you can quickly restore it from a backup.
It's also a good idea to keep tabs on your tech stack, make sure that everything is up to date, and be on the lookout for anything that's no longer supported. By keeping your tech stack up to date, you can avoid any compatibility issues that might cause downtime.
After hundreds of projects, we believe at CyberMedics that a company's best outcomes aren't found in out-of-box software. Instead, we tap into a wide range of highly compatible technologies to build real custom solutions. If you're looking for a reliable tech stack for easy software development, have a gander at ours below:
#7 Take control of your cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is one of the most important aspects of keeping your system up and running. After all, if your system gets hacked, it's going to go down, and you're going to lose data – opening yourself up to all sorts of liabilities.
That's why it's so important to take control of your cybersecurity and make sure that you have all the right security measures in place. This includes things like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and proper password management. Services like AWS WAF block requests that might be DDoS attacks, or even scan the payload to see if someone is trying to SQL inject. As soon as such a pattern is detected, the service blocks the IP address and sends email or SMS alerts.
You could also have a security audit done by a specialized, third-party company to exposure any vulnerabilities in your system. Once you know where your weaknesses are, you can take steps to fix them and prevent any downtime in the future.
Additionally, you need to make sure that your employees are trained in cybersecurity best practices. After all, they're the ones who are going to be using the system on a day-to-day basis, so it's important that they know how to keep it secure.
Parting words: Get top-level SLAs with CyberMedics on your side
Service level agreements (SLAs) are contracts between you and your service providers that guarantee a certain level of service (AKA consistent, reliable uptime). For example, an SLA might guarantee that your website will be up and running 99.9% of the time.
If you're looking for reliable IT software solutions, we do our due diligence to make sure that the systems we develop can handle our clients' expected traffic loads and other conditions before we go live. CyberMedics always makes sure to have high-performing SLAs in place so that our clients can avoid any nasty surprises down the road.
Want peace of mind knowing that your systems are in good hands? Get in touch to talk about your project.