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Cyber Attacks Are The Root Cause in 30 Percent of Data Center Outages: Study

Study Shows Cost Of Data Center Outage at $7,900 Per Minute

Study Shows Cost Of Data Center Outage at $7,900 Per Minute

While never seen or talked about by most employees in a typical enterprise, data centers play a critical role in keeping operations moving and transactions processing, so it’s no surprise that any data center outage can be severely costly.

As organizations continue to increasingly rely on technology and applications hosted in a data center, the cost of an outage has increased significantly, according to the results of a recent study.

According to the 2013 Cost of Data Center Outages study, a Ponemon Institute study sponsored by Emerson Network Power, the cost of an unplanned data center outage is approximately $7,900 per minute, an increase of 41 percent from $5,600 in 2010.

Data Center Outages

The 2013 report analyzed outage costs at 67 data centers within the last year across varying industry segments with a minimum size of 2,500 square feet.

“Given the fact that today’s data centers support more critical, interdependent devices and IT systems than ever before, most would expect a rise in the cost of an unplanned data center outage compared to 2010. However, the 41 percent increase was higher than expected,” said Larry Ponemon, Ph.D., chairman and founder, the Ponemon Institute. “This increase in cost underscores the importance for organizations to make it a priority to minimize the risk of downtime that can potentially cost thousands of dollars per minute.”

In September, Emerson Network Power released the first part of this study, which surveyed more than 450 U.S.-based data center professionals and focused on the root causes and frequency of data center downtime. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they knew the root cause of the unplanned outage.

Thirty-four percent of respondents cited cyber attacks as the root cause of a data center outage, a 15 percent increase since 2010.

Other frequently cited root causes of outages include:

• UPS battery failure (55 percent)

• Accidental EPO/human error (48 percent)

• UPS capacity exceeded (46 percent).

• Weather-related outage (30 percent)

Highlights of the 2013 Costs of Data Center Outages report include:

• Average cost of data center downtime across industries was approximately $7,900 per minute. (A 41 percent increase from the $5,600 in 2010.)

• The average reported incident length was 86 minutes, resulting in average cost per incident of approximately $690,200. (In 2010 it was 97 minutes at approximately $505,500.)

• For a total data center outage, which had an average recovery time of 119 minutes, average costs were approximately $901,500. (In 2010, it was 134 minutes at about $680,700.)

• For a partial data center outage, which averaged 56 minutes in length, average costs were approximately $350,400. (In 2010, it was 59 minutes at approximately $258,000.)

“Those organizations with revenue models that depend on the data center’s ability to deliver IT and networking services to customers – such as telecommunications service providers and e-commerce companies – and those that deal with a large amount of secure data – such as defense contractors and financial institutions – continue to incur the most significant costs associated with downtime; with the highest cost of a single event more than $1.7 million,” the report said.

“As data centers continue to evolve to support businesses and organizations that are becoming more social, mobile and cloud-based, there is an increasing need for a growing number of companies and organizations to make it a priority to minimize the risk of downtime and commit the necessary investment in infrastructure technology and resources,” said Peter Panfil, vice president, global power, Emerson Network Power.

The full report is available here in PDF format.

Written By

For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.

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