There Is Nothing Scarier Than a Data Outage

Without revealing how long ago, Halloween never seemed to be a big deal when I was a kid, but nor was there an intense focus on the availability and uptime of IT services that we see today. Back then, there were always manual processes for a business to fall back on. With today’s promises to deliver all things and as Halloween festivities ramp up in recent years in Hong Kong, Singapore, and all over the region, it all becomes scary. 

But as the world stops on the night of Halloween to dress up as their favorite scary movie character, don’t forget the chilling thought that really does keep business owners up at night. The real nightmare of a system is data outage.

The Haunting of the Availability Gap 

Thousands of businesses in Hong Kong and across APAC depend on a constant supply of data and access to serve their customers and maintain revenue streams. Across the economy, we are continuously putting more trust in technology and into the availability of data and digital service. 

But what happens if this availability fails? How do we safeguard our business data? How do we restore access to services as quickly as possible to minimize cost, consequence, and impact? Beyond the (not insignificant) fact of user frustration that might result from the lights going out, there are pretty frightening business consequences.

Availability shortfalls are not only widespread, but they're costing businesses a lot of money globally. For instance, earlier in September, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), the operator of Asia’s third-largest capital market, had to hold derivatives trading because of a technical glitch, and the futures and options trading remained frozen for an entire afternoon. 

While we can only imagine how much money was lost in the HKEX outage, the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report, which surveyed more than 1,500 senior business and IT leaders from 13 countries, might be able to shed some light on this. The report shows that 73% of organizations surveyed admitted to not being able to meet users’ demands for uninterrupted access to data and services, costing the typical company USD 20 million a year. This highlights the devastating impact downtime can have on lost revenue, productivity, and customer confidence. Needless to say, there aren’t many companies out there that can easily shoulder these kinds of incidental costs.

Data Availability Impacts Daily Lives 

Data availability is starting to stretch beyond the world of business and IT. As we connect more and more devices, our critical data sprawl and grows ever further. Data access outages don't just cause business consequences; they can bring whole cities, government departments, and/or multinational networks to a halt.

More than 50 cities around the world are already testing autonomous vehicles, with plans to revolutionize the supply chain and cause substantial knock-on effects on traffic flows and the workings of a city. All these vehicles rely on data availability to function safely and successfully.

On top of that, we are increasingly seeing smart cities crop up, where utilities such as water and electricity can be automated and streamlined with the help of ‘always-on' data availability. Healthcare is also adopting technology to improve patient services: My Health Records are a great example of where data availability can deliver on a large scale.

Stop to imagine what a data outage could look like: a city brought to a complete halt, like a scene out of a horror movie – no power, no hospitals, no transport.

Even in the context of an unavoidable natural disaster, such as major flooding, a loss of data availability from an outage becomes less a prospect of lost dollars and something much more severe.

In these cases, the typical value of data is put into a stark perspective – but it shouldn't take a large-scale outage or a high-profile data disaster to make IT managers rightly consider the importance of availability to their digital transformation plans. 

If businesses want to commit to providing an ‘always on’ service to their customers, then they need to focus on the planning and implementation of their availability solutions and avoid the pitfalls of unplanned downtime.

Joseph Chan, regional director - Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan, Veeam wrote this article. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.