What To Do When A Network Goes Down

Most of us are guilty of taking technology we use for granted which is all fine and well until a network goes down and we’re left without access to our files, the internet or devices we need to do our jobs.

Whether you’re a regular employee, I.T manager or business owner, this article will help you to know what to do when a network goes down and how to minimise the chance of it happening again. 

What to do when a network goes down? 

When a network goes down the first thing to remember is ‘don’t panic’. Technology can be fixed and files can be recovered, so take a breath and focus on the five points below to get you and your team back up and running as quickly as possible. 

  1. Determine the extent of the problem
  2. Alert relevant stakeholders that there is an issue
  3. Action your disaster recovery plan
  4. Restore functionality 
  5. Plan to prevent it happening again 

Premier I.T solutions offer managed IT services that include remote monitoring and maintenance. If you have concerns about your network, we can run a free network assessment to help you understand ways to improve network stability. And if you’re experiencing an IT emergency, we can be on hand to help resolve the crisis.

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At home, most of us can get through a power cut or lack of internet without experiencing nothing more than a bit of inconvenience but when it comes to network downtime at work, even temporary outages to power, internet or data access can cost thousands of pounds in lost productivity and repair time. 

Read on for more detail on the step by step approach you can take when a network goes down at your place of work. By the end of this article you will have all the knowledge you need to equip yourself with a plan of action to minimise disruption, costs and down time when the technology doesn’t go your way.

Restoring Service Quickly When A Network Goes Down 

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are crucial for any business that is serious about restoring service quickly when a network goes down. 

When a network goes down, it’s not usually a case of switching it on and off again or giving the server a kick. The source of the problem must be found, a fix put in place and tested before normal service can be resumed. Fortunately for business owners, the most common threats to network downtime are also the most preventable with a bit of forward planning. 

Business owners that take the time to plan and tackle easily avoidable causes of downtime along with those that know how to respond with a step by step process when things do go wrong, will be the ones that can manage a network going down with a cool head and and restore normal connectivity and working practice as quickly as possible.

We briefly touched on our five point plan on what to do when a network does down in the introduction above and now we will expand on each point further. 

Determine The Extent Of The Problem 

When a network goes down the first thing you should do is to determine the extent of the problem. The more information you can provide your I.T company or those responsible for restoring service, the quicker they will be able to find the source of the problem and provide a resolution.

Consider the points below: 

  • Is it just the company email that is down?
  • Are shared drives available? 
  • Is the internet connected?
  • Are other offices in your building affected? 
  • How many users are affected? One or two or everybody

Alert Relevant Stakeholders That There Is An Issue

After you have determined the extent of the problem using the prompts above you should alert all relevant people that there is an I.T issue and let them know what actions, if any you have already taken. 

Consider the points below: 

  • Tell the person/people responsible in your building for managing staff communications and your I.T company. If nobody is around, go straight to your I.T contact directly. 
  • Once key stakeholders are alerted, they should then get to work letting anyone that may be affected by the current issue know that there is a problem, it is being looked into and an update will be provided as soon as possible. Consider staff, suppliers and customers.

Action Your Disaster Recovery Plan 

A good disaster recovery plan will outline lots of possible causes of network downtime and provide alternative working solutions that can get people back to work in some way as soon as possible whilst you wait for an update from the technical team on the case. 

For example, if the internet goes down in your office, could staff work from home or another nearby location until connectivity is restored? 

As soon as you have an idea of how long the network will be down for you can make a judgement call on when to kick your disaster recovery plan into action. 

Restore Functionality 

Assuming your staff are now finding alternative ways to work where possible you can now turn your attention to restoring functionality and getting your network up and running again. We would recommend leaving this particular aspect in the hands of the experts unless you know your ping tests from your Firewalls! What you can do to help is to make sure the relevant person at your business is available to communicate with the tech team and pass messages out to the wider business when an update is available.

Plan To Prevent It Happening Again 

Unfortunately, there is no way to protect your business from network downtime completely but you can make plans that will make dealing with a drop in functionality as stress free and easy to recover from as possible.

Review your actions 

If you have a disaster recovery plan in place already, review it every time you use it to ensure it is fit for purpose and all bases are covered. Update it with anything that did or didn’t work so it can be refined for the next time you need it. 

Fail to plan, prepare to fail.

If you suffered from a network going down and you didn’t have a plan in place to deal with it, consider working with an I.T support team to analyse your business needs the risks against it so a well rounded plan can be put together so you’re in the best position possible to get back up and running quickly in the future.

I.T Audits are invaluable for disaster prevention 

A wider I.T audit that assesses your hardware, software and infrastructure to ensure it is as safe, resilient and reliable as possible could reduce the chance of network down time in the future. On-going I.T management is a great way to spot and resolve potential network downtime factors that can be easily addressed such as security breaches, incompatible software or hardware or underperforming infrastructure.

Related Questions 

What Is A Network and What Does It Do? 

As I.T professionals, when we talk about a network, we mean a collection equipment that is connected to each other and allows for the sharing of data between people. Small to medium business networks are made up of servers, computers, digital audio, smartphones, firewalls, routers etc. that cater for the needs of hundreds of employees across huge geographical distances. 

What Can Cause A Network To Go Down? 

It’s impossible to mitigate against the effects of every possible cause of network downtime but here are some common reasons you may find yourself calling the I.T professionals to help you get back up and running: 

  • Power cuts or surges 
  • Work on the server/network/businesswide software
  • Physical malfunction of servers 
  • Natural disasters such as floods, fires etc. 
  • User error is an often overlooked cause of network downtime. Examples include employees being unaware of phishing scams could accidentally expose businesses to harm, moving files to the wrong location, giving out passwords that can be used to access devices or sensitive information. 
  • Hacking attacks, malware or viruses can cause serious problems without proper protection in place. 

Things To Consider For Business Continuity

There is so much to consider when it comes to keeping your business going that we would always recommend employing the services of I.T specialists that can help you to take a methodical look at your business with you. This approach will help you to ensure that you are compliant with any data storage needs you have, spot any gaps in your network security and suggest the best approach to keeping your network secure, running and meeting your business needs. 

Consider these things when making your business continuity plan: 

  • Data backups and ease of recovery when you need it 
  • I.T Monitoring that checks for performance issues with key equipment 
  • Which apps, people, programs and devices are absolutely crucial to your business being able to function as normal
  • If you rely on the internet to work, consider upgrading to the most robust internet service available and having a back up line that can take over in the event that your primary connection fails. 
  • Do you have defences in place to protect your network from hackers or malicious online threats
  • Examine your system for both external and internal weaknesses.
  • Opt for enterprise-level network infrastructure.
  • Have a redundant network connection.
  • Employ a backup power connection.
  • Switch to cloud or co-location services.
  • Know who to turn to when your network does go down.
  • Staff training on procedures to follow when networks goes down and how to spot malicious hacking attempts, password protection 

What Happens When A Network Goes Down? 

Usually network downtime manifests itself in a user being unable to access a file, or send an email or access the internet – all things that they would usually do simply without a second thought. When this escalates to multiple users noticing the same issues then it’s time to take things seriously and find the cause of your network outage so a solution can be found asap. 

When a network goes down, there can be all kinds of consequences depending on the source of the outage and level of backups a business has in place. For example, if a power cut occurs, all landline calls, business emails and meetings may be affected or if the internet cuts out, you could lose access to crucial files that your business needs. 

Working with an I.T company can ensure you have back ups for your files, servers, equipment and main communication methods to get around temporary outages. 


We hope this article has given you lots of things to consider about what to do when a network goes down. Remember, every business will undoubtedly experience network downtime at some point but the way you respond will make the difference between getting back up and running as quickly as possible or losing money, time and productivity. 

Recommended and reliable I.T companies will be able to support you with business continuity planning and disaster recovery procedures which are both vital tools for running a successful business. 

The next time you find yourself wondering what to do when a network goes down, focus on the five points below to get you and your team back up and running as quickly as possible. 

  1. Determine the extent of the problem
  2. Alert relevant stakeholders that there is an issue
  3. Action your disaster recovery plan
  4. Restore functionality 
  5. Plan to prevent it happening again

If you have any questions about managing your company’s I.T network. Reducing the chance of down time or managing it when it occurs, please contact the team at Premier IT Solutions and we will be happy to discuss your needs in more detail. 

Premier IT Solutions offer tailor managed IT support covering Server & VMs, Desktop, Network, Security, Mobile and Remote facilities to keep you connected to your business 24×7. 

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