When looking to grow staff or businesses you need to be aware of all Single Points of Failures.
A single point of failure (aka SPoF) in business is a solitary problem that leads to an entire business’s demise. Single point of failure needs to be prevented with growth planning and should be identified and where possible eliminated.
Is your company over-reliant on one member of staff? What would happen if they left?
Is your business over-reliant on a tool? What would happen if the tool broke and no longer worked?
Are you carefully planning and eliminating SPoF’s from your business strategy?
What is an example of a single point of failure?
Here are a few examples of common SPOFs:
- The server which stores all your data (if not working your whole operation stops)
- Expensive pieces of equipment where only one is needed (if this “one” breaks there is no alternative)
- Manufacturers which cannot be made elsewhere
- Developers who have custom made a system, only them can operate
- All revenue earned through a single client or website
- Staff that if left would stop your whole operation
- An individual with special knowledge or the only person performing a process
How do you identify a single point of failure?
The best way to identify a single point of failure is to break down the process into smaller components.
If any small component would shut down the whole operation you have identified a SPoF.
Once identifying the SPoFs it is important to create a plan to eliminate this failing area.
Main Reasons of Single Points of Failure in Business?
Here are the main reasons for single points of failure in businesses:
- Reduce Costs
- Accounting Software
- Limited Reporting & Analysis
- No Written Goals
- Bad Management
- Employee Fraud
- Negative Culture
Who is responsible for single-point failure?
It is the responsibility of the business owner to identify a single point of failure.
Systems can be put into place to employ a data centre architect to identify and correct single points of failure that appear in the infrastructure’s design.
Or managers to develop other staff to learn the special knowledge an individual may possess.
Business owners need to be responsible so when any member of staff is ill or takes a holiday the whole operation can still run seamlessly.
Why is a single point of failure bad?
A single point of failure is bad because can shut down a whole company from working.
When a SPoF fails it will stop an entire system and this can be extremely damaging to an organisation.
Single points of failure are undesirable to systems that demand high availability and reliability
The revenue loss from downtime for any business is significant, so single points of failure should be identified and where possible eliminated.
How can you fix a single point of failure?
Here is how a single point of failure can be corrected:
- Write a Business Continuity Plan
- Write Down Your Business Plan
- Define a Human Capital Strategy
- Prevent, Reduce, and Detect Internal Fraud
- Shine a Light on Hidden Costs
- Shift Risk to an Outsourced Provider
What is the meaning of fault tolerance?
Fault tolerance is a process where you have identified a point of failure and place systems to eliminate full faults occurring.
The system or organisation can still continue operating despite failures or malfunctions.
Due to costs, the failure might slow down workload but the fault tolerance will prevent complete closure.
Fault tolerance benefits are it enables a system to continue with its operations even when there is a failure on one part of the system. The system can continue its operations at a reduced level rather than be failing completely.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Many entrepreneurs say to double down and concentrate on one thing.
But the counter-argument is “Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket”.
Imagine having one client you are 100% reliant on to keep trading?
Imagine having one website and the next Google algorithm update deindexes your whole website?
Hedge your bets are always advised in business so you are not reliant on any single point of failure.
It is great to focus and not spread yourself too thin – but you cant proactively build a business on quicksand and need continuity plans in place for worst-case scenarios.
Many businesses are set up for failure with essentially a flaw in the design, configuration, or implementation of a system.
Every business should implement a plan B strategy.
Every business should be prepared for staff to leave.
Every business should be prepared for circuits to break.
“Plan for the worst prepare for the best”
Every component poses a potential risk and could lead to a situation with just one malfunction or fault that can cause the whole company to stop trading.
Risk assessment inside your business plans should include the ’cause of the problem’ or ‘reason for the failure’ and highlight the solutions or fixes if these problems occurred.
Business continuity managers should identify and stop people to become single points of failure (SPOF) in businesses.
Training others around the specialist engineers, suppliers or subcontractors is key to building your company long term.
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