No Risk Management Plan for Many Data Centers

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A recent survey of data center managers conducted by AFCOM’s Data Center Institute (DCI) found that nearly 17 percent of them have no risk management plan, and fewer than 5 percent have strategies in place to address viruses and security breaches. This situation exists in spite of the fact that more than three-fourths of all companies have experienced a business disruption in the past five years, including 20 percent who reported the disruption had a serious impact on the organization’s operations.


These results, which were derived from a survey of nearly 200 members of AFCOM, were made public last week at the Data Center World conference in Atlanta. AFCOM President Jill Eckhaus said that it was part of the organization’s effort to raise awareness of the critical nature of this issue.


Along with those findings, AFCOM issued five “bold predictions” for the data center industry. These include:



  • Within the next five years, one out of every four data centers will experience a serious disruption.
  • By 2015, the talent pool of qualified senior-level technical and management data center professionals will shrink by 45 percent.
  • By 2010, nearly 70 percent of all data centers will use some form of grid computing or virtual processing.
  • By 2010, more than half of all data centers will have to relocate to new facilities or outsource some applications.
  • Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data center operations at more than 90 percent of companies.


According to the results of the study, a combination of problems plagues the data center management field. One of these is a lack of focus on information security issues. Although the survey showed that 83 percent have a risk management plan in place, nearly two-thirds of those strategies are aimed at local, regional and onsite interruptions and disasters, whereas only 1.3 percent address breaches and 2.7 percent deal with viruses.


Another big obstacle is simply manpower. About 38 percent of respondents said they currently have unfilled positions in their data centers, and 15 percent said it usually takes six months or longer to fill open senior-level technical or management positions. And if that weren’t enough, 47 percent believe finding qualified senior-level employees will become more difficult over the next five years.

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