Security Experts:

Downtime and Data Loss Cost Enterprises $1.7 Trillion Per Year: EMC

EMC Corporation has surveyed 3,300 IT decision makers from across 24 countries in an effort to determine how well organizations are prepared to deal with incidents resulting in downtime and data loss.

According to the study, enterprises (organizations employing more than 250 people) have lost a total of $1.7 trillion in the past year due to downtime and data loss. While the overall number of data loss incidents has decreased, the volume of lost data has increased by 400% over the last two years.

EMC says 64% of surveyed enterprises suffered data loss or downtime in the last year. On average, businesses experienced 25 hours of unexpected downtime, with 36% of them reporting revenue loss and 34% reporting delays in product development due to the disruptions.

Big data, hybrid cloud, mobile and other business trends create new challenges, and the study shows that in many cases organizations are not prepared. For example, only 6% of the respondents said they have a disaster recovery plan for incidents related to big data, hybrid cloud and mobile. Just over half of businesses don't have a recovery plan for any of these emerging workloads, and 62% of the respondents consider these environments difficult to protect.

When it comes to recovering information following an incident, 71% of those surveyed said they were not fully confident in their abilities.

According to the storage giant, advanced data protection technologies can make a considerable difference, but the ideal scenario is where organizations rely on a single vendor for supplying these types of solutions. The study shows that enterprises relying on three or more vendors not only spend $3 million more on their data protection infrastructure, but they also lose three times as much data compared to businesses that rely on services from a single provider.

Organizations in China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United States have the most mature data protection programs. Enterprises in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Switzerland are at the other end of the chart.

"This research highlights the enormous monetary impact of unplanned downtime and data loss to businesses everywhere.  With 62% of IT decision-makers interviewed feeling challenged to protect hybrid cloud, big data and mobile, it's understandable that almost all of them lack the confidence that data protection will be able to meet future business challenges," noted Guy Churchward, president of Core Technologies at EMC. "We hope the global data protection index will prompt IT leaders to pause and reevaluate whether their current data protection solutions are in alignment with today's business requirements as well as their long term goals."

In November, Incapsula reported that distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attacks cost organizations $40,000 per hour, the average cost of an attack being estimated at roughly $500,000. Other companies believe the losses caused by DDoS attacks are even higher. A study conducted by Neustar earlier this year shows that outages caused by DDoS led to losses of between $50,000 and $100,000 per hour.


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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.