Is your data centre prepared to withstand a natural disaster?


Research from Zenium Technology Partners has found that one in two organisations are not operating a data centre that could continue to function after a national disaster.

The report, entitled ‘Managing Growth, Risk and the Cloud’, found that half of companies polled has experienced disruption with their data centre due to Mother Nature, with respondents experiencing five incidents in total on average. Despite this, 45% of those polled insisted their data centre was flood resistant, 43% stated their data centre was officially earthquake resistant, and 60% said it was located in an area away from physical or environmental hazards.

For companies who had experienced disruptions with the running of their data centre, more than nine in 10 (91%) confirmed it had come at a loss to their business. A third of C-suite respondents said they didn’t know what the exact cost was, with the highest figure cited as £500,000. This rings true with a similar study from Marsh, which found 61% of organisations hadn’t made an attempt to calculate real or estimated financial losses after a cyber attack.

The key talking point, according to Zenium, is whether to outsource their data centres or not. Of the respondents who have outsourced, more than twice as many (58%) had experienced disruption compared to those who had built their own (25%). Yet 64% of those that already outsource some data centre operations are considering outsourcing further to reduce exposure to natural disasters. 36% of those who don’t outsource are looking at the same tactic.

Nick Razey, CEO of data centre provider Next Generation Data, recounted a conversation he had with a CIO about expanding from 25 racks to 80 racks in his column for CloudTech in November. Not surprisingly, he advocated outsourcing, yet argues: “Why do many companies consider building their own data centre? A charitable explanation is that they feel more secure with an in-house data centre and it’s more efficient for staff. A more cynical explanation is that a data centre is the ultimate vanity project.”

Franek Sodzawiczny, CEO and founder of Zenium, said: “Discussions around scalability, connectivity and cost are of course important when selecting an outsourcing partner, but this research demonstrates quite clearly that the location of the data centre should not be underestimated. The data centre supports mission critical services and downtime is not only disastrous, but astronomically expensive in today’s 24×7 business environment.”

Read more: Data centres: To buy or not to buy – that is the question