Digitised services in multiple industries have led data centres to become exposed to unprecedented demand. Owen Miles, Field CTO, Everbridge, explains the impact of digital and human error in maintaining uptime and how data centres can ensure quick response times to reduce the impact of technical incidents.
In today’s data-driven world, data centres are the backbone of multiple industries and employ digital processes designed to streamline and deliver accurate, efficient and timely operations. These are carefully calibrated to run smoothly, giving organisations the opportunity to meet challenges and deliver opportunities. But the migration to digital has also put more pressure on data centres to maintain continuous service uptime, a task which is testing facilities daily, given that cyber disruptions are at an all-time high.
Ensuring the availability of applications, platforms and critical infrastructure means that data centre teams must find ways to organise a response and deliver rapid resolution of any event that threatens the facility, its customers, employees and any other stakeholders.
This invidious task is a battle, and as well as rising cyberattacks, other critical events are growing including internet and electrical outages, extreme weather and natural disasters, terrorism, health risks and human error.
Research shows global cyberattacks increased by 38% last year, however, a study by the Uptime Institute from March 2023 indicates that it is human error that plays a role in 66%-80% of all data centre and IT outages. Most are the result of staff not following procedures or the procedures themselves being faulty.
Siloed data from disparate systems
One problem for data centres is that they often house disparate security systems, installed over time by different vendors into what is often a mismatched tech stack. Security teams are expected to manage the resulting siloed data, but it doesn’t give them a common, contextualised overview of the situation. This can lead to vulnerabilities. Guarding against incidents that can impact financial stability, cause reputational damage and even threaten lives is essential. Digital operations platforms have emerged as an indispensable tool for quickly assessing interruptions to digital services, allowing data centres to act quickly, reduce the overall resolution time and analyse the incident to continuously enhance processes and services.
These dedicated solutions have three distinct features:
Monitoring risk and performance
Systems being used across enterprise data centres to support multiple use cases from DevOps, project management and security operations to major incident management and customer support can be integrated into the platform. This enables multiple monitoring tools to identify and quickly assess digital service interruptions and threats across the stack and determine the root cause of performance issues before they can impact the business or its customers.
Automating IT incident response
Services and tools that identify IT issues quickly are standard, but they don’t always ensure expedited incident resolution. A dedicated digital operations platform can not only identify the problem but also automate a suitable and rapid response by proactively initiating incident management workflows and alerts. This means that team members can be alerted rapidly – according to their skill set, schedule, role and location – and can respond in one click to calls for action.
Automation allows them to utilise AI-powered incident matching based on historical fixes to solve active issues while simultaneously engaging with the wider business. Because it’s essential that data centres continue to operate while an IT incident or outage is resolved, lines of communication must be kept open between the digital teams and the rest of the business. The non-digital teams have digitised plans in place to continue operations during the incident to ensure the continuation of services.
Digital operations platforms allow workflows and templates to be built from an intelligent and intuitive user interface. These enable data centres to automate on-call scheduling, reduce unplanned work, maximise resource utilisation and block redundant or false alerts. This way, teams are focused only on the highest-priority incidents.
If these bases are covered, data centres can accelerate their response as critical incidents continue to rise. Of course, the preferred approach is prevention, which is why tools that allow organisations to analyse any gaps in their response processes are important. This includes reviews of incident timelines or access to response performance reports that can be assessed to drive continuous improvements.
Utilising the power of AI
The latest enhancements to digital operations platforms include AI-powered real-time situational awareness tools which deliver even deeper visibility into IT service disruptions and risks. Enriched signals assist by providing automated triaging of critical events as they occur, and an extended range of integrations with leading IT systems enhance observability and service impact monitoring.
These dynamic tools are allowing data centres to exercise greater control of their operations, delivering them with a comprehensive overview of their digital infrastructure and the ability to predict disruptions based on thousands of data sources. This empowers them to respond quickly to resolve issues and minimise the impact on the business. Teams can also be empowered to act to help in the fight not just against technical incidents but those that result from human error too.
By adopting a digital operations platform, data centres can take advantage of an end-to-end solution which helps to unify siloed data, keep platforms and applications secure, combat critical events, deliver operational resilience and maintain constant uptime – all through one control plane.Click below to share this article