Cybercrime fastest-growing cause of data centre outages — Report

By ADEDEJI FAKOREDE

AFTER having risen from being behind two percent of outages in 2010 to 18 percent in 2013, cybercrime is quickly rising as one of the leading causes of data centre outages.

According to a report contained in a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Emerson Network Power, cybercrime caused 22 percent of data centre outages in 2015.

Cybercrime is now the fastest-growing cause of data centre outages, the report’s authors said in a statement.

The biennial report’s primary focus is cost of data centre downtime to the operators, and that cost is quickly rising. Among operators of the 60-plus data centres surveyed, the average total cost per minute of unplanned downtime went from about $8,000 in 2013 to about $9,000 last year.

The survey shows that average cost of a single data centre outage rose from $690,000 in 2013 to $740,000 in 2015.

Data centre outages cause companies to lose money in a variety of ways, the most costly one being business disruption. The other ones are lost revenue, reduced employee and IT productivity, and money spent on outage detection, recovery, post-outage activities, equipment, and third-party services.

The researchers surveyed data centre operators in a variety of sectors, including colocation, communications, consumer products, e-commerce, education, financial services, healthcare, industrial, and government, among others.

The cost of downtime varies widely depending on many factors, the primary one being the data centre’s function and the nature of the business its operator is in. To illustrate, the maximum cost of a data centre outage among survey participants in 2015 was about $2.4 million more than three times the average. Maximum cost of an outage has gone up about 80 percent since 2010, according to the report.

Companies in the financial services industry stand to lose the most in data centre outages, followed by communications, healthcare, e-commerce, and data centre colocation verticals, in that order.

Downtime costs also depend on duration of the outage (longer outages are more costly), and size of the data centre. Operators of smaller data centres generally lose more money per square foot than operators of larger facilities.

While the frequency of data centre outages caused by cybercrime is growing, UPS failure remains the leading cause of data centre downtime. Including UPS systems and batteries, these types of failures caused 25 percent of outages in 2015 reported by survey participants. This is up from 24 percent in 2013 but down from 29 percent in 2010.

The third most common cause of data centre downtime is human error, accounting for 22 percent of outages last year. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh most common culprits are mechanical system failure, weather, generator failure, and IT equipment failure, respectively.‎

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