One Third of U.S. Data Center Outages in 2013 Caused by Cyber Attacks

In 2013, cyber attacks were cited as a cause for U.S. data center downtime by 34 percent of survey respondents, compared to just 15 percent in 2010, according to a recent Ponemon Institute study that was sponsored by Emerson Network Power. The study results would underscore the importance for companies to prioritize risk mitigation.

data-centers-usaThe Ponemon ‘2013 Study on Data Center Outages’ is a survey of 584 individuals in U.S. organizations who have responsibility for data center operations. The report also analyzes costs and a number of other downtime-related factors at 67 data centers (2,500 sq ft or more) within the past year across varying industry segments.

In addition to the ‘2013 Study on Data Center Outages’, a companion report was released by Emerson and Ponemon highlighting the cost of data center outages. That report quantifies the cost of an unplanned data center outage at slightly more than $7,900 per minute, a 41 percent increase from 2010.

“On the heels of Cyber Monday, data center downtime is an e-commerce platform manager’s biggest concern,” said Scott Barbour, global business leader of Emerson Network Power. “There is a need for additional investment in data center infrastructure management in order to support increasingly mobile, social and cloud-based businesses. The data in these reports will help decision-makers evaluate financial implications associated with mitigating risk.”

Highlights of the ‘2013 Study on Data Center Outages’ report and the companion ‘2013 Cost of Data Center Outages’ include:

  • The average reported outage length was 86 minutes, resulting in an average cost per incident of approximately $690,200, whereas in 2010 the average outage was 97 minutes and cost approximately $505,500.
  • For a total data center outage, which had an average recovery time of 119 minutes, average costs were approximately $901,500, whereas in 2010 the average recovery time was 134 minutes and cost about $680,700.
  • For a partial data center outage, which averaged 56 minutes in length, average costs were approximately $350,400, whereas in 2010 a partial outage averaged 59 minutes and cost approximately $258,000.
  • Companies 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 downtime costs; with the highest cost of a single event reaching more than $1.7 million.

Emerson Network Power, a subsidiary of Emerson (NYSE: EMR), delivers software, hardware and services that maximize availability, capacity and efficiency for data centers, healthcare and industrial facilities.