Small Business Downtime: What Are The Most Common Causes?

If there’s one thing that businesses fear, it’s downtime. When a business can’t operate at maximum effectiveness, it’s losing out on potential. That potential might come in the form of sales, support or simply the ability to function. In the case of some businesses, it might result in huge losses from a financial perspective. It’s simply a scenario that sends shivers down the spines of many business owners.

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We’re not just plucking the following causes out of thin air, you know! However, we’re going back a few years to look at Quorum’s 2013 Q1 Disaster Recovery Report. Some key information was highlighted during that time, and although a few years have passed, the results are still very relevant.

Hardware Issues

The biggest culprit when it comes to affecting small business downtime relates to hardware issues. Does that surprise any of you?! We rely on a lot of hardware on a daily basis to carry out our most important tasks. When it comes to IT, you can never predict when something might just go catastrophically wrong. Printer services like Ricoh support are often seen as crucial to prevent too much downtime. The same goes for a whole host of IT and server management services. According to the report, this accounted for 55% of all issues for small to mid-sized businesses.

Human Error

The next topic on our list is human error, which happens a lot more often than you might think. 22% of cases were identified as human error instances. This could include all sorts of things. It might be a user wiping out important data by mistake. It might be improperly shutting down printers or pulling cables out of a server. It’s very easy for someone to make a devastating mistake when they don’t know what they’re doing. And, even the most technological of people can still make catastrophic errors of judgement from time to time. No one is safe from human error instances!


We rely on software to an incredible degree. It’s extremely efficient, but it comes with the downside that we simply rely on it too much. When it fails, our operations often come to a grinding halt. What can affect software? Everything from malware to incompatibility. New patches also cause a lot of problems on a regular basis, suffering from a lack of testing. When software goes wrong, we’re relying on support companies to rectify the issue for us. That doesn’t always happen instantly, causing panic on our part. In the report, 18% of cases were attributed to this.

Natural Disasters

Finally, there are natural disasters. We can’t control them, and we can only do so much to protect against them. It might surprise you to hear that natural disasters are very low down on the list, however. Only 5% of issues were attributed to this, so it isn’t something that poses much of a threat to the majority. Of course, business downtime on this scale could cause widespread damage and destroy businesses in the worst cases. The report mentions that many businesses that suffer something like this go out of business within a year.

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