Active Directory outages can cost organizations $100,000 per day

Nearly every organization has core systems services tied to Active Directory that will go down during an outage, according to Cayosoft.

Active Directory outages

Consequences of system downtime for business operations

The impact of just one system being down can devastate business operations and cause significant financial and operational losses, from preventing customer purchases and supplier communications to disrupting core functions, such as email access and device logins. According to the report, the most common AD-enabled systems include accounting, marketing, and software and services development.

The report revealed a 172% increase in forest-wide Active Directory outages since 2021, due to a confluence of factors including escalating cyberattacks, the growing complexity of hybrid environments, and human error. Yet despite the striking rise in Active Directory outages, few businesses can respond and recover quickly.

Only 6% of enterprises and 16% of businesses overall can recover their Active Directory in less than an hour. Notably, almost half of respondents report that it can take days, weeks, or even months to rebuild.

Though daily testing could significantly reduce Active Directory outages, 73% of respondents reported testing less than once per month, with 23% testing just once per year.

90% of enterprises, 70% of medium-sized companies, and 65% of small businesses must rebuild or have clean servers on standby. These processes, which are required by most standard AD backup and recovery solutions, significantly lengthen time to recovery.

The cost of Active Directory downtime

When asked about the labor cost of downtime, 70% of respondents across all company sizes said they risk losing at least $100,000 per day (just over $200 per minute) of downtime.

However, a calculation of labor cost, based on an average salary of $75,000 per employee and 250 8-hour workdays per year, demonstrates a significant disconnect between the perceived cost of AD downtime and reality.

The range can vastly differ based on size of the organization as well.

An enterprise with 15,000+ employees risks losing $4.5 million in labor costs per day ($9,375 per minute) of AD downtime. A mid-size company with 5,000+ employees risks losing $1.5 million per day ($3,125 per minute). An SMB with up to 1,000 employees risks losing up to $300,000 per day ($625 per minute).

“Regardless of how an Active Directory forest outage comes about, it’s critical to reduce the time it’s down. Many organizations falsely trust their AD recovery strategies will work in these pivotal moments, and few meet testing burdens, and even fewer fully comprehend the time and resulting cost for a recovery,” said Robert Bobel, CEO at Cayosoft. “Active Directory remains the cornerstone of almost every organization and outages are escalating – this means a fast, complete recovery is top priority so employees, enabled apps, suppliers, and customers can operate.”

“We received an immense response to this survey – over 1,000 responses from C-level, VP, and Director-level members of our expert community in little over a week’s time,” said George Coll, CEO, BWW Media Group. “This extraordinary level of interest makes it clear that Active Directory outages are a critical concern across organizations of every size.”


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