When dissecting the costs of data center downtime, it’s obvious that many factors are at play. But what plagued companies with data center downtime five years ago has drastically changed in recent years, according to a recent study by Ponemon Institute.
The study, which was sponsored by Emerson Network Power, included a survey of 63 data centers that had experienced outages in the previous 12 months.
While uninterruptible power supply (UPS) failure remained the top cause of unplanned data center outages, cyber crimes followed close behind — accounting for 22 percent of data center outages in 2015 — up from 2 percent in 2010. That compares to 25 percent for UPS-related outages.
Other causes of data center outages included water, heat or air conditioning failure (11 percent); weather (10 percent); generator failure (6 percent) and IT equipment malfunction (4 percent).
Overall, the study indicated that companies could make a significant dent in data center outages by addressing errors caused by humans — which were directly attributed to 22 percent of outages. That number remained unchanged since 2013.
Experts at Ponemon said the number could be much higher since cyber crime and UPS system failures often are associated with lack of precautions taken by employees. For example, IBM recently released a report that indicated 95 percent of cybercrimes could have been prevented if not for human errors.
IBM issued a 2015 report that similarly found that employees or other people with insider access to companies were responsible for 55 percent of cyber threats reported by companies.
The Ponemon study also revealed a disturbing trend — the rising cost of a single event has climbed to $740,357, which represented a 38 percent increase over a five-year period. The most expensive aspects of a data center outage included business disruption, lost revenue, productivity, and equipment.
Overall, the research indicates that companies that focus on training employees with proper procedures and invest in security measures could significantly diminish the risks of data center outages.