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Uptime Institute reports downtime consequences worsening

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New findings from the Uptime Institute have suggested that the consequences of downtime are worsening, as the digital infrastructure sector struggles to reduce the severity and frequency of outages.

The Uptime Institute’s 2022 Outage Analysis report, which draws data from information supplied by the institute’s members as well as its database of publicly reported outages, explores the latest digital infrastructure failure rates, the increasing impact and costs of outages, as well as top downtime causes.

The report found that high outage rates haven’t changed significantly, with one in five organisations experiencing a ‘serious’ or ‘severe’ outage in the past three years, marking a slight increase in major outages.

According to the findings, more than 60% of failures resulted in at least $100,000 of losses – a big increase from the 39% reported in 2019. Outages that cost $1 million or over also increased from 11% to 15% over this period.

Power-related outages accounted for 43% of ‘significant’ outages – causing downtime and financial loss – with UPS failures being the biggest cause of power incidents. Networking issues were found to be causing a large portion of IT outages, while inadequate or ignored procedures were the main cause of the majority of human error-related outages.

The report also suggested that there will be at least 20 high-profile IT outages worldwide each year, in-line with public outage trends. In 2021, 27 out 108 publicly reported were serious or severe – a ratio that has been consistent since 2016, when the Uptime Intelligence team began cataloging major outages.

“Digital infrastructure operators are still struggling to meet the high standards that customers expect and service level agreements demand – despite improving technologies and the industry’s strong investment in resiliency and downtime prevention,” said Andy Lawrence, founding member and Executive Director, Uptime Institute Intelligence.

“The lack of improvement in overall outage rates is partly the result of the immensity of recent investment in digital infrastructure, and all the associated complexity that operators face as they transition to hybrid, distributed architectures,” he added. “In time, both the technology and operational practices will improve, but at present, outages remain a top concern for customers, investors, and regulators. Operators will be best able to meet the challenge with rigorous staff training and operational procedures to mitigate the human error behind many of these failures.”

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