Businesses are to be offered a way to estimate instantly the consequences of network failure. Redditch-based Networks First has partnered with Warwick Business School to develop its new Network Downtime Calculator.

The calculator is designed to inform enterprises of the impact network failure can have on their business; calculating annual revenue and productivity loss, revenue loss per hour and lost data and rework costs.

Networks First decided to build the calculator after it spoke to a number of businesses concerning their awareness of the effect network failure can have on their operations, as Peter Titmus, managing director of Networks First, explains.

“We realised that a great deal of business did not have the tools to ascertain just how much they would lose during network downtime.” said Titmus. "For instance, the retail industry faces an average downtime cost of around ₤350,000 per hour and the finance sector faces downtime costs of ₤100,000 per hour. It was then that we went to Warwick Business School in order to come up with a real methodology."

Warwick Business School did extensive research and looked into a wide range of parameters in order to develop the calculator, according to Titmus, and Networks First is still in the process of adding a number of new features that factor variables such as peak trading times to aid the retail industry and peak usage periods for the health sector.

While retail and finance stand to lose the most money from network failures Titmus believes all sectors need to take heed of the damage network downtime can cause to their business, particularly the healthcare industry.

"The risk of failure for the healthcare sector is expected to rise dramatically as more and more systems are migrated to IT. While risk for commercial sectors is largely financial, for healthcare the stakes can obviously be much higher."

While the calculator, which can be downloaded from here, does offer a ready check on the potential consequences of downtime, it does require the gathering of a large amount of information that might preclude its use for some organisations.