Story image

The bane of all data center environments: How it can all go wrong

25 Jul 16

As data centers evolve in size and complexity, multiple areas of potential risk continue to arise that can cause incidents resulting in an insurance claim.

Some of the most common risks include:

  • Accidents that damage the facility
  • Potential for workplace injuries
  • Business risks from downtime events that impact the data center’s or its customers’ business continuity.

Organizations depend on 24 x 7 x 365 IT infrastructure availability to ensure that services to customers/end-users are available whenever needed. Providing this availability comes down to not only the design and construction of facility infrastructure, but also how that facility is managed on a day-to-day basis to safeguard the business-critical infrastructure.

There is an increasing dependency on modern data centers as end users as more companies outsource to the cloud or house their primary or backup networks offsite. This increasing dependency of end users on centralized, outsourced infrastructure presents opportunities

While there are physical ways that data centers can optimize their safety - like solid construction, fire protection systems and sufficient proximity to flood and earthquake-prone areas – this still leaves out some very important considerations.

Third Party (Liability)

  • Service interruption – customer losses incurred as the result of unplanned outages
  • Data security – unauthorized access or disclosure could break service provider obligations
  • Damage to property of others – Infrastructure service providers’ facilities typically house multiple customers’ assets with values in the millions of dollars
  • Premises liability – responsibility to ensure properties remain free of unsafe conditions

First Party (direct losses to insured)

  • Property damage – loss or damage to insured property
  • Business interruption – service interruptions create potential for direct loss of income
  • Extra expense – the costs to resume operations after a loss event can include, additional staff, overtime costs and leased equipment
  • Equipment breakdown – machinery or equipment may cause serious service interruptions

Employee health and safety – providing a safe workplace is the responsibility of all employers

Regulations – these create compliance risks at all levels of the data supply chain

Management and operations are critical

Utilising 20 years of incident report data, Uptime Institute determined that human error is responsible for around 70 percent of all data center incidents. To put that in perspective, fire as a root cause was just 0.14 percent, which means bad operations practices are 500 times more likely to negatively impact a data center than fire.

Moral of the story? As with any human venture, there will always be risk. Effective operations and insurance provide a means of risk transfer, particularly useful on high severity cases.

Pitfalls to avoid when configuring cloud firewalls
Flexibility and granularity of security controls is good but can still represent a risk for new cloud adopters that don’t recognise some of the configuration pitfalls.
Cisco dominates record-high Ethernet switch & router markets
While the market is flourishing, it’s tough-going as Cisco has increased its majority share of the pie.
Tensions on the rise after Huawei CFO arrest
“Recently our corporate CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was provisionally detained by the Canadian authorities on behalf of the United States of America."
Why total visibility is the key to zero trust
Over time, the basic zero trust model has evolved and matured into what Forrester calls the Zero Trust eXtended (ZTX) Ecosystem.
Gartner names Proofpoint Leader in enterprise information archiving
The report provides a detailed overview of the enterprise information archiving market and evaluates vendors based on completeness of vision and ability to execute.
QNAP introduces new 10GbE and Thunderbolt 3 NAS series
The new series is supposedly an all-in-one NAS solution for file storage, backup, sharing, synchronisation and centralised management. 
HPE to supply tech to Formula E racing team
“At HPE, we believe the future belongs to the fast, and we’re focused on accelerating what’s next for enterprises, including in the world of auto racing."
Data Exchange Networks achieves world-first
After receiving a new Uptime Institute award, DXN is now the first modular data centre developer in the world equipped to blend different standards.