Downtime: IT’s Worst Nightmare and How to Minimize It

Skybox's True 2N Design Provides IT Users Peace of Mind With Concurrently Maintainable Infrastructure

Between natural disasters, network attacks, and the dozens of other potential threats, life in IT is unpredictable. While you can’t eliminate these threats completely, this list of best practices in risk mitigation will help to lessen the impact of consequences.

Life in IT is an unpredictable world. Natural disasters, network attacks, and a dozen other potential threat factors could pop up at almost any time. Your strategy for maintaining operations when the worst happens is the best insurance out there. But because there is no true way to eliminate certain threats completely, it’s vital that data centers take extra steps to ensure the consequences of potential downtime are mitigated.

And rightfully so—in the event of an unplanned outage or downtime, enterprises lose a reported $8,851 per minute. Along with massive financial loss, downtime may negatively impact business productivity and customer data by causing sensitive, critical information to face increased risk of corruption.

While most enterprises have plans and procedures in place to avoid downtime, a reported 70% of businesses will (or already have) experience data loss or system failure. Let’s hammer this one home, 70% will or expect to face some sort of outage to their day to day operations. 

With that in mind, CIOs and IT Directors across industries are reevaluating their colocation and business continuity strategies. Most are moving on from legacy facilities by implementing a hybrid colo-cloud platform lessening the likelihood for disruptions.

For data center customers in high-risk industries like healthcare and finance, expectations for security and risk mitigation are especially high. Here are a few best practices you should expect out of your data center partner:

Pro-Active System Failure Avoidance

Maintaining operational redundancy and low latency telecommunications is a top responsibility of data centers. Every facility should have regular maintenance and Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) strategies in place to make sure servers and equipment are operating efficiently and up to standards. 

Regularly monitoring systems and assets allows data center operators to stay up to date on equipment health, lowering the risk of unexpected system failure. Another preventative measure data centers should implement is redundant cooling and power delivery for their critical network. When exposed to outdated power delivery, the core network may be prone to unexpected outages which is one of the main contributors of IT downtime.   

Mitigate Human Error

While it may seem unlikely, human error is actually one of the most common causes of downtime. Today’s advancements in digital operations allow data centers to implement automated processes with sophisticated algorithms that reduce the ‘human element.’ Using AI and machine learning allows systems to maintain standard day-to-day operations and may even highlight inefficient processes. Along with automated processes, establishing well-defined roles and communication practices along with your business continuity plan is vital in the event of an accident or disaster. For example: if your data was breached, do you know who would contact you?

Built to Withstand the Elements

Unfortunately, data centers can put themselves in harm’s way when they don’t place a premium on site selection and redundant infrastructure. Ideally, data centers should be designed and built to withstand the weather elements in their region. Whether it be heavy winds and rain or seismic activity; these enterprise facilities need to be purpose built to match the environment. 

While the building infrastructure matters, past natural disasters have proven that having an established disaster recovery plan is critical as well. Looking at the impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Entergy, a local energy provider, reported that while they weren’t impacted by flooding, their facility did experience a full, facility-wide loss of power due to downed power lines. As we move further into hurricane season, it’s important for businesses to ensure their data partner is prepared for whatever’s next with secure infrastructures and a strategy for quick recovery.

How to Assess Your Data Center’s Resiliency?

Although we listed a few best practices above for data center operators, there are many preventative steps your enterprise can take to minimize the risk of potential downtime. To get a better idea of how your current data center and DR plan measures up, consider a comprehensive risk assessment. It will allow you to identify potential risks and outcomes for your current data processes, should an unplanned event occur. 

All Skybox Datacenter facilities are purpose-built with 6’’ concrete roof decks able to withstand 190+ MPH winds with diverse 30-MW concrete encased duct banks for ultimate reliability in power delivery. For more information on our mission-critical colocation and build-to-suit data centers, visit our website or contact us today.