Security Experts:

Report Shows Data Centers Not Prepared for Disasters, Cyber Attacks

A report released this week coming from the largest association of data center professionals has suggested that with budget constraints and a tough economy, data center operators have been focused on immediate needs and paying less attention to disaster recovery planning and protecting against cyber attacks.

The “State of the Data Center” survey released by AFCOM, the non-profit association with 4,500 members, revealed that more than 15 percent of respondents no plan for data backup and recovery in their data centers. Additionally, 50 percent said they have no plan to replace damaged equipment after a disaster. When it comes to cyber attacks, two-thirds of those responding their data centers have no plan or procedure to deal with such attacks.

Data Center Disaster Planning

“When it comes to disaster recovery, the survey results are indicative of the investment activity we have seen in data centers throughout the recession—focus on immediate needs with business continuity and disaster recovery planning considered a luxury,” said Richard Sawyer, Worldwide Practice Leader, Critical Facilities Assurance at HP Critical Facility Services, and member of the Data Center Institute Board of Directors. “But now, with the regional disasters in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, and the turmoil in the Middle East, we are reminded it is a management necessity to be prepared for anything.”

On the physical side of data center security, the survey found that 25 percent of facilities were installing biometric screening for authorization and access to better protect their data centers.

In AFCOM’s survey, 86.6 percent of all respondents reported an increase in the number of web applications they are running today as compared to just three years ago. Vulnerabilities within Web applications have been the subject of much attention recently and a prime attack vector for cybercriminals.

While preparation for disaster recovery and cyber attacks may be lacking, the survey did show that data centers are spending money. In 2011, 37.6% of respondents expect to see their data center budgets increase. For those that are increasing their budgets, 41.5% show a budget increase of 6-10%, while 16% report an increase of more than 20% over 2010.

Data center managers are also paying more attention to energy. With energy consumption at an all time high, data center managers are taking advantage of unique technologies and incentive programs to reduce energy costs in their facility. Some are even going green, with 3.9% saying they have implemented solar power.

The results of the survey came from 358 data center managers from around the world.

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