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Interview: Uptime Institute on decreasing the risk of data center incidents

25 Jul 2017

Earlier in the month, Uptime Institute announced that it is now a member of CNA's Allied Vendor Program, recognizing the organization's administration and creation of Tier Standards and Certifications for Data Center Design, Construction and Operational Sustainability 

Lee Kirby, president of Uptime Institute, discusses what this new relationship means for Uptime Institute's customers and the role the advisory organization plays in data center risk management. 

What does an organisation have to represent and do to become part of CNA’s Allied Vendor Program?

CNA identifies and works with companies offering services that may strengthen a company's risk control programs and help mitigate costly exposures and/or provide needed services outside of an insurance carrier's capabilities.

The companies that participate in CNA’s Allied Vendor Program assist in developing critical programs and procedures that will help create a safer, more secure work environment. These companies, like Uptime Institute, offer valuable services that can support a company's risk control efforts.

In our digital-centric world, data center infrastructures are the basis for conducting business and have become the single largest capital asset owned by most corporations.

These structures must be engineered and managed in accordance with strict guidelines and methodology to meet business continuity goals. When built and managed properly, the number of incidents is reduced and overall business value is increased.

What does this new relationship mean for Uptime Institute and Uptime Institute customers?

This means that Uptime Institute customers can save money on insurance premiums by rebidding their insurance. 

We are pleased to work with CNA and appreciate their progressive take on the industry. We anticipate that other insurance companies will do the same over time.

What are the biggest challenges data center operators are facing today?

The biggest challenge faced today is keeping up with change.

Data centers are more important than ever before. And, in the age of the Cloud, on premise and co-location data centers are even more important to organizations as the vast majority of these owner-operated data centers are being re-tooled and retrofitted to form the basis of Private Clouds.

Private clouds are simply owner-operated data centers or co-location resources that have been deployed in a resilient fashion, enable elastic capacity, have accountability built-in, and offer a wide range of self-service capabilities.

Working together, a mix of public and private clouds will form the basis of all IT services for years to come.

For the past several years, Uptime Institute’s annual survey reveals that these owner-operated data center “Private Cloud” resources consistently account for more than two-thirds of all computing, with the public cloud being used for the remainder. 

Today we need business running 24x7x365, and need to make sure that these data centers are well run and deployed.

We understand that every data center is different, with varying complexities and issues whether based on local characteristics or build parameters.

As such, Uptime Institute’s Tier Topology Standards do not need to be rewritten for every issue as it is results oriented in its approach – embracing new technologies and applications, as the topology expands to meet today’s changing needs. 

Can you comment on how Uptime Institute reduces companies’ insurance costs by decreasing the risk and severity of data center incidents?

We encourage our clients that have been awarded Tier Certification or an M&O Stamp of Approval to review their insurance policies and consider a rebid.

Any data center owner should also look to reduce and manage risk by talking to Uptime Institute about our service offerings.

CNA has recognized Uptime Institute for the creation and administration of the Tier Standards and Certifications for Data Center Design, Construction and Operational Sustainability, which help owners and operators mitigate risk and improve the performance of business-critical infrastructure.

CNA understands that once these standards are implemented, data center owners and operators may experience fewer and shorter-lasting incidents. As a result, any insured who demonstrates a commitment to these standards may qualify for more competitive insurance policy terms and pricing with CNA.

How crucial is a certification body like Uptime Institute to the performance of business-critical infrastructure for data center owners? 

Our Uptime Institute 2017 survey of more than 1000 data center operators showed that one-quarter of all respondents experienced a data center outage in the last 12 months.

Data centers with Uptime Institute’s Tier Certification experienced half as many instances. We’ve found that 70% of data center projects fail the Tier Certification assessment during the first round of demonstrations, requiring the owner to invest more time and money to alleviate problems.

Our expertise and hands-on methodology works, and we are able to come in with a third party view, understand the complexity of these systems as well as the difference between data center design and actual construction and how to bridge those gaps.

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