10 strategies for getting going again quickly after an IT failure. 

My last blog highlighted the costs associated with network or IT systems downtime. One study cited found that data systems downtime costs an average small business 545 hours per annum. A second study found that the average cost of network downtime for businesses is $5,600 per minute. These, together with several other studies and anecdotal reports, pointed to the frequency of and the costs associated with downtime. Downtime is a clear and ever-present threat for most businesses. It is the first threat that ‘Managed IT’ consultants must address. 

A common cause of network or IT system downtime is a disaster that leads to the system shutting down. This missive outlines ten things all businesses can do to recover from a disaster as quickly as possible. Common disasters include: 

  • Natural disasters – everything from a storm to an earthquake. 
  • Hardware failure – unexpected systems malfunctions – minor to major. 
  • Human error – everything from minor mistakes through to poor judgement. 
  • Software failure – unexpected software failures or bug – minor to substantials. 
  • Security breaches – external parties accessing and potentially damaging systems.  

The impacts or consequences of such disasters can include: 

  • Lost productivity. 
  • Lost data. 
  • Loss of reputation. 
  • Loss of sales. 
  • Lost staff confidence. 

Given these potential consequences of a disaster – recovery as quickly as possible is essential. The sooner the network or IT system is up and running, with all data restored in full – the better. For this to be achieved, it is essential to document or have a ‘Managed IT’ consultant document, a ‘Disaster Recovery Plan’. The optimal ‘Disaster Recovery Plan’ addresses three phases: 

  • Preparation. 
  • Response. 
  • Review. 

Embracing the notion that it is better to be safe than sorry, it is wise to assume that a disaster will occur someday. Preparation is essential. Preparing for a potential disaster should involve: 

  • Maintaining a comprehensive inventory of all hardware and software. 
  • Assiduously monitoring the performance of all hardware and software. 
  • Ensuring that all data is fully backed up and secure – externally, if possible. 
  • Defining the businesses tolerance of downtime and data loss. 
  • Having in place the human resources to address the disaster. 
  • Documenting a comprehensive recovery plan detailing chain of responsibility. 
  • Documenting a communication plan to keep stakeholders informed. 
  • Testing the recovery plan to ensure it works as it is planned to. 
  • Having in place the insurance required to mitigate recovery costs. 

Preparation is the key to all disaster recovery. Documenting and committing to a comprehensive ‘Disaster Recovery Plan’ is essential if recovery times and costs are minimised. Every enterprise should have such a plan and the means to implement it. 

Responding to a disaster should ideally involve: 

  • Clearly defining the recovery objectives and timeframe. 
  • Assessing the damage, identifying the problem and the impact. 
  • Assessing the human contribution to the disaster. 
  • Initiating an insurance claim.  
  • Agreeing the plan of action required to ensure full recovery. 
  • Amassing the resources required to implement the plan. 

Central to minimising the recovery time will be determining the optimum ‘recovery method’, with the options including: 

  • File-based recovery. 
  • Full systems recovery. 
  • Virtual machine recovery. 
  • Bare metal recovery. 
  • Localised recovery. 
  • Cloud-based recovery. 

Selecting the right ‘recovery method’ can directly bear the costs associated with the recovery and the time it takes to achieve. For most businesses, this will require the services of a ‘Managed IT’ consultant. Ideally, that consultant will be familiar with the enterprise. 

Once the disaster is past, and the recovery is complete, it is important to: 

  • Review the outcomes, the process, and the strategy for getting there. 
  • Review the insurance outcomes and the need for policy changes. 
  • Review the performance of the team responsible for recovery. 
  • Consider the need for longer-term strategic changes to IT arrangements. 

As with any plan, it is important to review the ‘Disaster Recovery Plan’ after full implementation to identify areas for improvement. A ‘Disaster Recovery Plan’, like any plan, should be reviewed and refined as required – with an eye on preventing future disasters and reducing the time and costs associated with recovery. 

For many, this will look like a complex process. That is because it is a relatively complex process. But it is also an essential process if downtime is to be minimised and recovery is to be accelerated. The complexity of this process draws most enterprises to engage a ‘Managed IT’ consultant – to take responsibility for all aspects of a network, including reducing and addressing disasters. That said, some businesses have the expertise and resources to address these issues in-house. Either way – an enterprise that wants to minimise downtime and recovery costs needs to address all of the issues addressed above. 

Here are ten tips to help you on the journey. To ensure rapid IT recovery: 

  1. Maintain a comprehensive and up to date hardware and software inventory. 
  2. Assiduously monitor the performance of all hardware and software. 
  3. Ensuring that all data is fully backed up and secure – externally, if possible. 
  4. Documenting a comprehensive recovery plan detailing chain of responsibility. 
  5. Testing the recovery plan to ensure it works as it is planned to. 
  6. Clearly defining the recovery objectives and timeframe. 
  7. Assessing the damage, identifying the problem and the impact. 
  8. Agreeing the plan of action required to ensure full recovery.  
  9. Review the outcomes, the process, and the strategy for getting there. 
  10. Consider the need for longer-term strategic changes to IT arrangements. 

In summary, most businesses will one day have to deal with disaster recovery. When they do, the critical objectives will be to recover as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Achieving these objectives will almost certainly require a comprehensive and tested ‘Disaster Recovery Plan’. While some businesses develop such plans in house, their complexity generally warrants the engagement of a ‘Managed IT’ consultant. 

To learn more about minimising downtime. CLICK HERE. 

Alternatively, give me a call. I am always happy to chat.  

If you want to know more, please call or email us.    

Wolfe Systems IT
1300 381 727 



10 tips for minimising or eliminating IT system downtime. 

While briefing Wolfe Systems in 2010, a client noted that Network or IT downtime could cost them as much as $100,000/ hour in lost production. The client further noted that it was an expectation that Wolfe Systems would minimise, if not eliminate, such downtime. Fortunately, we have been able to do just that. This missive outlines ten things all businesses can do to limit, if not eliminate, downtime.  

Emphasising just how much a business could lose due to IT downtime, consider these numbers:  

  • In March 2015, a 12-hour Apple store outage cost the company US$25 million.   
  • In August 2016, a five-hour IT power outage cost Delta Airlines $150 million.  
  • In March 2019, a 14-hour outage cost Facebook an estimated $90 million.   

Some might question the relevance of quoting businesses as large as Apple, Facebook, and Delta. While the losses might be proportionately less for small to medium enterprises – recent research found that data systems downtime costs the average small business 545 hours per annum. Research house Gartner found that the average cost of network downtime for businesses is $5,600 per minute. Guardian has developed a formula for calculating the cost of downtime, as follows:  

  • Cost of downtime = lost revenue + lost productivity + recovery costs + intangible costs.  

Lost revenue is calculated by – gross annual revenue / total annual business hours x percentage of revenue effected by downtime x hours of downtime. Lost productivity equals – the number of employees affected by downtime x percentage they are affected by downtime x average cost of an employee x hours of downtime. Recovery costs include – employee overtime, repair services, replacement parts, data recovery costs and supply chain delays and fees. Intangible costs can include – missed deadlines and project delays, loss of customers, loss of reputation, loss of future sales, a decline in share price and public relations recovery costs.  

Two under-reported and difficult to calculate potential impacts of downtime include those associated with: 

  • Staff
  • Data  

There is often a cost associated with diminished staff morale and confidence. Downtime does not just impact customer confidence and market reputation. Downtime also impacts the confidence that staff have in the capacity of the business to deliver and, as a result, the confidence that sales staff, in particular, have to make promises or give delivery undertakings to clients. This, in turn, will impact the capacity to secure sales and attract the best staff.  

The costs associated with the loss of data, the recovery of data and the re-sourcing of data after a period of downtime can also be substantial. Lost data can lead to a loss of reputation and a loss of sales. Recovering data can attract significant costs – especially where high-quality storage and recovery systems are not in place. The costs of re-sourcing data can also be very high, where it is possible. Where appropriate systems are not in place – data can, of course, be lost forever – and that can be very expensive indeed.  

The point here is that downtimes are all too common, even in 2021 and the costs associated with downtime for businesses of all sizes in all industries are substantial. What is more, those costs are almost always higher than many businesses recognise given the range of impacts on the business.  

This table highlights common causes of downtime and strategies for diminishing the impact of these causes.  

Cause of DT   Strategies for avoiding DT  
Human error.   Consistent, systematic, and thorough documentation and training. A training programme is essential.  

configuration error.  

Automatic update/change implementation. Test all the changes in a lab environment before putting them into effect in your system. 
Security breaches.     The 24/7 surveillance and monitoring of your systems and the implementation of a comprehensive security strategy.  
Old equipment.   Regular inventories and timely upgrade, ensuring all hardware is compatible with the cybersecurity software and operating systems.  
Software and hardware failures.   Regular, ideally monthly, maintenance and upgrading of all systems to ensure they are optimal and operating optimally. 
Power failures.   Ensure that each circuit can supply enough power by itself and provide back-up power. 
Natural disasters.    Investing in offsite fault tolerant systems and by migrating to the cloud.  
Server O/S bugs.   Ensure frequently updating of the operating system. 
Hardware/software incompatibility.   Ensure the software and hardware are kept up to date, and that all equipment is well matched and tested. 
Server hardware instability.    Monitor server stability 24/7, focusing on bugs, power supply glitches, faulty RAM, damage to hard disk platter and related issues.   
Insufficient cooling.   Ensure air conditioning is fully functional and maintaining a cool server environment.   
Internet outages.   Ensure that your internet access is secure and operating at the right speed. The speed of most systems can be increased.   

These are just some of the more common causes of network and solutions to network or IT system downtime. These are among the many issues your ‘Managed IT’ consultant should be addressing. Perhaps the cost-effective strategy for eliminating downtime is to engage a ‘Managed IT’ consultant with the skills and resources to work with the business to address all of these issues on an ongoing basis and reporting monthly, addressing among other things:  

  • Network testing and monitoring.  
  • Network security & risk mitigation.  
  • Connectivity and bandwidth.  
  • Data storage capabilities.  
  • Installations and upgrades.  
  • Implementing software patches.  
  • Providing web hosting.  
  • Network provisioning or virtualization.  
  • Performance monitoring and reporting.  
  • Providing help desk technical support.   

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the most effective strategies for minimizing downtimes for most businesses involve:  

  • Engaging a ‘Managed IT’ consultant with the skills, resources and attitude required to take responsibility for business continuity.   
  • Implementing a “Service Level Agreement’ that involves a reliability guarantee and monthly ‘Efficiency Ratings.’  

 For more information on ‘Service Level Agreements’ and ‘Efficiency Ratings’, please email me -   

 Whether you engage a ‘Managed IT’ consultant or not – here are ten tips for minimizing or even eliminating network or IT system-related downtime in your business. To minimize downtime: 

  1. Monitor hardware and software, configurations, interactivity, power, and temperature. 
  2. Document your backup plan – incorporating multiple pathways between network locations.  
  3. Always employ the latest version of all hardware and software. 
  4. Document all processes and implement a continuous staff training programme.  
  5. Document and implement a comprehensive password and security policy. 
  6. Monitor the contribution of all hardware and software on an ongoing basis. 
  7. Test all the changes in a development environment before putting them into effect in your system. 
  8. Adopt a programme for updates – and ensure that updates are implemented. 
  9. Invest in offsite fault-tolerant systems by migrating to the cloud. 
  10. Ensure a reliable fibre optic network – and an internet set up that can maximize speeds.  

In summary, network and IT, downtime is all too common and potentially expensive. There are, however, strategies to minimize downtime and maximize productivity. For most businesses, this should involve the engagement of a ‘Managed IT’ consultant and a ‘Service Level Agreement’ that ensure all needs are fully met – on time and to budget. In the absence of such a consultant, there are strategies highlighted here that will, if fully implemented, minimize downtime.  

If you want to know more, please call or email us.    

Wolfe Systems IT
1300 381 727 



10 Tips for maximising the performance of your IT consultancy. 

According to technology researchers Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute and can range in cost from $140,000 per hour at the low end to as much as $540,000 per hour at the high end. Further, 98% of organisations report that an hour of downtime costs them over $100,000 – and some 81% of respondents indicated that 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000 – with some estimates as high as $1.5 million.  

These numbers are based on research in the United States and take into account a range of industries. There is, however, no reason to believe that the numbers are significantly different in Australia – where downtime costs the average small business 545 hours per annum- with the costs associated with that time going well beyond salaries and wages costs. The point is that downtime is expensive, no matter what industry you are in. 

The implication of downtime include but may not be limited to: 

  • Lost revenue. 
  • Lost productivity. 
  • Corruption of and gaps in mission-critical data. 
  • Damages to equipment and associated assets. 
  • Cost of remediating systems and core business processes.
  • Damaged reputation with customers and key stakeholders. 
  • Degradation of employee morale. 
  • Regulatory, compliance, and legal penalties. 
  • Loss of insurance discounts; contract penalties. 
  • Disruption of supply-chain. 

Impacting significantly on downtime is the response times of IT consultants and managers you use. Unfortunately, there is no research data on IT consultant response times in Australia. There is also no research data on the time it takes IT consultants to resolve issues. However, our research suggests that as far as clients are concerned, both times in Australia are too slow. Wolfe Systems has worked hard over the last two years specifically to reduce our average response and issue resolution times and are continuously working on getting both times down further. 

Wolfe Systems is undertaking regular Service Efficiency Ratings presently and will be including these in all client monthly reports from May 2021. We strongly recommend that no matter who your IT consultancy is – that you hold them accountable for service efficiency – demanding monthly reports.  

To minimise downtime, every business should: 

  1. Engage an IT consultant that has the expertise and resources that meet your needs. 
  2. Avoid using the growing number of IT consultancies with a high staff turnover.  
  3. Ensure that your IT consultancy documents an annual strategy you can sign off. 
  4. Ensure your IT consultancy sets acceptable and achievable response time targets.  
  5. Hold your IT consultant accountable for their performance against target response times. 
  6. Demand monthly IT Service Efficiency Ratings and open channels of communication.  
  7. Ensure that your IT consultancy adopts a pre-emptive as opposed to a reactive approach. 
  8. Demand that your IT consultancy is 100% transparent, open and honest – always.  
  9. Ensure that you are using the latest technology – both hardware and software. 
  10. Demand systems that deliver state of the art back up and rapid data restoration systems. 

Downtime can destroy your profitability. Not all IT consultants have the expertise, resources, attitude and systems required to minimise downtimes. It is the primary responsibility of every IT consultancy to minimise client downtime.  

To learn more about increasing the efficiency of your IT service and the value delivered by a Service Efficiency Rating, CLICK HERE 

If you want to know more, please call or email us.    

Wolfe Systems IT
1300 381 727 



10 Tips for maximising IT system efficiency. 

Despite their significant investment in IT, few businesspeople know how efficient their IT systems are. Our research suggests that managers are finding it harder to track their IT systems’ efficiency due in part to a lack of transparency by IT consultants, the increasing complexity of systems, the growing need for automation, and the failure of consultants to undertake regular IT audit and efficiency ratings. 

There is also a growing concern among business people that their IT systems are not as efficient as they could be. Recent research found that data systems downtime costs an average small business 545 hours per annum and that  80% of business leaders are concerned that the plethora of systems their businesses are using is reducing efficiency largely due to poor integration. Research also found that just 2% of businesses have modelled all business processes to the point where they can fully leverage automation opportunities.  

Research also suggests that there are many opportunities that businesses of all shapes and sizes should be – but are not – embracing to maximise efficiency. Consider, Mobile apps save small business employees 725 million work hours per year. Businesses that invest in big data, cloud technology, mobility and security can realise up to 53 per cent faster revenue growth than their competitors. Businesses that switch to VoIP can save up to 40 per cent on their local phone costs and up to 90 per cent on international calls. 

So, what is the efficiency rating of your business? When is the last time you completed a full efficiency rating review? Where are the opportunities to increase the efficiency of your IT systems? Are you extracting full value from your IT systems? Most importantly, when did your IT consultant last review your issues and the multitude of opportunities for reducing downtime, enhancing cybersecurity, and maximising your IT systems.  

Wolfe Systems has developed a Systems Efficiency Rating tool to help clients identify: 

  • The current efficiency of their IT systems. 
  • Opportunities for increasing IT efficiency. 
  • Opportunities for reducing IT costs.  

The Wolfe Systems Efficiency Rating (SER1) tool also enables clients to track their IT systems’ efficiency over time – so that they can fully evaluate the return they are achieving on their IT investment and the changes being made by their IT consultant.  

For a complimentary Wolfe Systems Efficiency Rating review, with recommendations – CLICK HERE. 

For now, here are 10 tips for increasing the efficiency of your IT systems: 

  1. Set a baseline Systems Efficiency Rating (SER1) for your IT systems.  
  2. Undertake a follow-up Systems Efficiency Rating every six months and track. 
  3. Use your Systems Efficiency Rating to guide your IT investment. 
  4. Require a report on the impact on your Systems Efficiency Rating before approving any IT investment. 
  5. Complete an annual audit of your IT systems referencing your Systems Efficiency Rating. 
  6. Evaluate, at least annually, the impact of IT automation opportunities on your Systems Efficiency Rating. 
  7. Evaluate, at least annually, the impact of IT integration opportunities on your Systems Efficiency Rating. 
  8. Ensure a match between your Systems Efficiency Rating requirements and your IT consultant’s capabilities. 
  9. Have your IT consultants document a continuous efficiency improvement strategy?  
  10. Ensure your IT consultants have the purchasing power required to minimise costs. 

Efficiency needs to be addressed on an ongoing basis. It is central to your business’s profitability and, as such, should be the number one priority for you and your IT consultants.  

To learn more about increasing your IT systems’ efficiency and the value delivered by a Systems Efficiency Rating, CLICK HERE. 

If you want to know more, please call or email us.    

Wolfe Systems IT
1300 381 727 



Smart services and smart technologies – Part Two

A series designed to address state-of-the-art services and technologies that can be used by business to Eliminate Inefficiency

Ransomware is malicious software that infects computers and displays messages demanding a ransom be paid before the system will function again. It is a form of malware used in criminal moneymaking schemes. A ransom is often triggered by a link installed in an email message, instant message or website. Ransomware damages costs are expected to reach US$20 billion in 2021. 

While paying a ransom in response to a cybersecurity breach is now illegal in Australia, the costs associated with ransomware reach well beyond such payments to include the costs associated with: 

  • temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information, 
  • disruption to regular operations, 
  • financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and
  • potential harm to an organisation’s reputation. 

About the last point, I cite again (as in my previous post), research by Arcserve published in late 2020 found that 59% of buyers are likely to avoid suppliers that they believe have suffered a cyber-attack. Unfortunately, Australian businesses are more susceptible to ransomware attacks than businesses in many other countries. Security Brief reports – ‘Over two-thirds (67%) of Australian organisations have suffered a ransomware attack in the last 12 months — 10% above the global average of 57%’. Crowstrike, which also found that of the businesses that fell victim to a ransomware attack, suggests that 33% paid the ransom, costing an average of AU$1.25 million for each breach. This percentage is higher than any other country in the Asia Pacific region and more than the global average (27%).  

As such, the chances of your business being hit by ransomware in 2021 is very high indeed. Further to this, the chances of that attack costing you a significant amount of money are also very high. 

So, what can you do to protect your business from a ransomware attack? 

It is first important to understand where ransomware attacks come from. Most ransomware attacks involve silent infections delivered through exploit kits, malicious email attachments, and malicious email links. This is especially concerning given how many emails each staff member receives every day. It is even more concerning when 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error, including staff opening emails or links they should not open. 

  • The strategies for limiting the risk of ransomware include the following: 
  • Educate all staff to NEVER EVER open unverified emails. 
  • Educate all staff to NEVER EVER open untrusted attachments. 
  • Educate all staff to NEVER EVER visit websites they cannot trust. 
  • Educate staff to NEVER EVER give out personal information, including passwords. 
  • Educate all staff to NEVER EVER use unfamiliar USBs. 
  • ALWAYS use a mail server that scans and filters all content. 
  • Ensure that ALL software and operating systems are up to date. 
  • ALWAYS use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi.  
  • ALWAYS maintain up to date security software. 
  • ALWAYS back up your data and ensure an efficient pathway to recovery. 

Also, consider the application of the HPE SimpliVity Hyperconverged solution. SimpliVity consolidates all the elements you need to run and manage a virtual environment – providing a virtual environment for 2 to 2000 machines. Among a range of benefits, SimpliVity enables data to be reliably backed up and rapidly recovered. It is a simple, powerful, and highly efficient security tool. 

A client recently engaged Wolfe System to recover data stored traditionally for a business that had suffered a cyberattack. The recovery process took nearly five days to complete. Had the business being using SimpliVity, it would have taken less than an hour. In short, using SimpliVity would have saved this business at least four days of productivity. So, my advice is: 

  • To protect against the costs associated with a Cyberattack – Use SimpliVity. 

Wolfe Systems is a trusted HPE partner and are the only approved SimpliVity implementation specialist in WA.

If you want to know more, please call or email us.    

Wolfe Systems IT
1300 381 727 



Smart services and smart technologies – Part One

A series designed to address state-of-the-art services and technologies that can be used by business to Eliminate Inefficiency.

In 2021, cyber-attacks are much more than a threat to business continuity. They are increasingly a threat to business survival. Research by Arcserve published in late 2020 found that 59% of buyers are likely to avoid suppliers that they believe have suffered a cyber-attack – with 25% suggesting they would abandon the product favouring a competitor. This finding is of particular concern in 2021 – given a 60% increase in business email scams, alone, in the last twelve months.

Numerous factors, including the coronavirus pandemic, have contributed to an increase in cyberattacks in the past 12 months. The cost of Ransomware damages are expected to reach US$20 billion in 2021, and some 94% of malware is now polymorphic, meaning that it can continuously modify its code to avoid detection. It is estimated that 6.85 million accounts get hacked every day or 158 every second – many of which could be avoided if passwords were managed more effectively.

It is estimated that:

  • 33% of hacks involve phishing. and
  • 28% of data breaches involve malware.
  • 80% of hacking-related breaches leverage compromised passwords.

The first question businesses need to ask themselves in 2021 is:

  • ‘Are the practices of our staff increasing the risk of phishing, malware or other password related breaches?’

The second question businesses need to be asking is:

  • ‘How can we reduce the threat of password-related data breaches in 2021?’ This missive addresses both questions.

Our experience and volumes of research suggest that the answer to the first question is, for most businesses – ‘yes’. And we can prove it.

Wolfe Systems is currently undertaking tests of the password and email practices of staff within client organisations. The results have been both alarming and instructive. They have been alarming because we have frequently found:

  • Passwords listed for sale on the dark web.
  • Staff opening email that is for all intents and purposes malware.

These findings are consistent with those of research where it was found that:

  • 51% of employees have not changed their passwords.
  • 50% of employees reuse an average of five passwords.

These findings have been instructive, and answer the second question above in that they have enabled Wolfe Systems to implement strategies for clients that reduce future risks.

In response, clients have implemented policies to:

  • Develop passwords with random numbers, letters and symbols that cannot be guessed.
  • Adopt different complex passwords for each business unit and each user.
  • Change passwords frequently and avoid the reuse of any passwords.
  • Use a password manager or random password generator – such as RANDOM.ORG.
  • Educate employees about the threats of passwords and malware breaches.
  • Review all breaches and attempted breaches to identify upgrade opportunities.
  • Implement multi-factor identification to provide an added level of security.

Wolfe Systems is also recommending that our clients use Passly, software developed by Kaseya. Passly protects data by ensuring that only authorised people are given secure access to sensitive applications and information. Developed in response to the growing numbers of remote workers, increased dependency on cloud applications, and explosive increases in cyber breaches, Passly is available for both SME and enterprise applications, facilitating:

  • The protection of all applications.
  • Secure access and multi-factor identification.
  • Streamlined efficiencies with a single sign-on (SSO).
  • Network and infrastructure access protection.

In short, this very smart technology makes security easy and affordable. This is leading-edge technology that will improve security without high costs or effort. Passly even facilitates the auditing of security systems and practices identifying issues requiring attention.

I recommend all businesses Install Passly secure identity and access management software without delay.

If you want to know more, please call or email us.    

Wolfe Systems IT
1300 381 727