As a result of new applications and emerging needs in end-user computing and mobility solutions, data centres are evolving to be increasingly complex. These lead to more internal and external risks.
Downtime is still a persistent risk, with a single event costing causing losses into the tens of thousands per minute for businesses. Some steps can be taken to help identify and mitigate these risks in data centre operations.
On an international level, the record-setting power outage in Texas in February 2021 was a huge story, and an even bigger wake-up call for data centres the world over. Although the incident had no large-scale failures, significant issues of electrical failover systems were very prominent in the story.
In function, data centres are physical facilities that run business-critical operations. In a business sense, they are viewed as real estate or capital assets that are budgeted and managed. When the outage happened, data centres were awoken to how a single point of failure causes huge disruptions to an operation which then leads to larger revenue loss.
This has led to the need for businesses for a pervasive risk management plan and policy applies to the entire organization to be a prime focus moving forward. This is where Integrated Risk Management comes in to improve decision making and performance through a view of how well organizations manage their unique set of risks.
Arguably the biggest risk for data centres is inadequate IT security, where cybersecurity breaches can range from DoS attacks to data theft. Application and system failures have an impact on the physical front also, in areas where ID cards cannot be verified, CCTV connection is lost and entry is denied for authorised personnel.
Sometimes applications and software can act up and shut down entire servers or networks also. You need to ensure all apps work seamlessly across the infrastructure and talk to cloud-native apps also.
Other areas around power failure, water leakage, high-decibel noise and fire can pose significant risks and will need a plan of action, and poor disaster-recovery planning can play an even bigger problem. All the more reason to have a clear-cut plan for recovery for every kind of failure event.
Assessing Risk Early
All risks come in a different capacity and, whilst data centres face distinctive risks, risk-mitigation techniques are not necessarily tailored towards a data centre environment.
Risk management plans need to list all imaginable risks that a data centre faces and specify responses towards each kind of incident – before they become problems.