The 7 Most Common Causes of IT System Downtime

Seismic Activity GraphThe Ponemon Institute, an independent research organization that studies privacy, data protection, and information security policy, released the results of a recent study of 63 data centers throughout the US. The research cites the average cost of a data center outage to be $740,357, while the maximum downtime cost hovers around $2.4 million. That’s a pretty pricey problem. Factors such as business disruption, lost revenue, diminished productivity, and data recovery contributed to these figures.

That’s why it’s critical that you know the seven most common causes of IT system downtime so you can address them before they cost you.

  1. Uninterruptible power supply failure. UPS accounts for 25 percent of system downtime events.
  2. Human error. This accounts for 22 percent of outages, including a recent uptick in cybercrime with human error considered a major contributing factor (e.g., people with insider access, untrained/misinformed operators, or budget constraints that don’t allow for proper protections.)
  3. Water, heat, or air conditioner failure. These are responsible for 11 percent of IT outages as drastic change to the system environment can have a serious impact.
  4. Weather/natural disasters. Weather and forces of nature account for 10 percent of outages, including tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters.
  5. Generator failure. This accounts for 6 percent of outages.
  6. IT equipment outages. Surprisingly, this only accounts for 4 percent of all outages. Hardware failure and storage-area network failures are two of the most common.
  7. Miscellaneous. There are many other circumstances and events that can bring down an IT system, such as a power surge, condensation, and even rodents.

Obviously, taking a proactive approach by eliminating risk before disaster strikes is the most effective way to avoid destroying your bottom line. Want to know more about effective backup and recovery solutions? Call the pros who know at TECA Data today.


Organizations that lack IT staff or become overwhelmed by a big project increase the chances that human error will contribute to an IT outage. If you’re looking for a way to preemptively avoid disaster, reach out to TECA Data for AS400 Administrative Support. We have a nationwide team of fully-trained and experienced techs who can monitor your systems and operations, ensure system security, update your operating systems, act as a liaison between you and IBM, and much more.

Questions? Contact us today.

The forces of nature can do some major damage to a company’s IT systems, so it’s time to test your knowledge about these weather-related facts. True or False.

  1. The safest place to be if you’re outside when a tornado hits is under a tree.
  2. Hurricanes kill more people each year than any other weather event.
  3. A tornado that forms over water is called a Tasmanian Devil.