The True Cost of Data Center Downtime and How to Avoid it

Think you’re immune to data center failure? Think again.

According to a 2013 Emerson Network Power study, 91% of organizations polled stated they had experienced an unplanned data center outage in the last 24 months.

Across all verticals, data center downtime remains a costly reality that strains budgets and jeapordizes mission-critical data. It’s especially problematic when you take into consideration how integral these systems are to our business operations. While the already astounding monetary expenditures associated with downtime are growing each year, an outage costs more than just money.

From shareholder confidence to staggering billion dollar annual losses, we’ll take a look at the costs of data center downtime and explore the increasing need for strategies like disaster recovery plans to mitigate the risk of an outage.


At the top of the corporate food chain, the average total cost of unplanned application downtime per year is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion, according to a report released by Stephen Elliot and the IDC team.

Meanwhile, the Ponemon Institute reports a 38% rise in the average cost associated with a data center outage. Since 2010 the figure has risen substantially, topping out at $740,357 in 2015.

Data Center Frontier highlights key findings from the study including:

  • The cost of downtime has increased 38 percent since the first study in 2010.
  • Downtime costs for the most data center-dependent businesses are rising faster than average.
  • Maximum downtime costs increased 32 percent since 2013 and 81 percent since 2010.
  • Maximum downtime costs for 2016 are $2,409,991.
  • UPS system failure continues to be the number one cause of unplanned data center outages, accounting for one-quarter of all such events.
  • Cybercrime represents the fastest growing cause of data center outages, rising from 2 percent of outages in 2010 to 18 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in the latest study.


From damage to mission-critical data to decreased organizational productivity downtime has a host of damaging ‘costs’ that have nothing to do with money.

The same Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power study underline additional direct and indirect costs such as:

  • Damages to equipment and other assets
  • Cost to detect and remediate systems and core business processes
  • Legal and regulatory impact, including litigation defense cost
  • Lost confidence and trust among key stakeholders
  • Diminishment of marketplace brand and reputation


While it may not be possible to prevent 100% of unplanned outages 100% of the time, there are measures you can take to safeguard your organization from the negative impacts of downtime.

Organizations can greatly reduce the frequency and duration of unplanned outages, with best practices in data center design and redundancy and services like:

  • Business continuity backups
  • Thorough disaster recovery plans
  • Managed services to monitor batteries and generators
  • 24/7/365 network monitoring

In truth, the reliance on data centers to help run and support our most critical operations is only going to increase. Downtime and unplanned outages create costly multi-layer problems for organizations. Fortunately, some of these may be offset with full monitoring and proper planning.

Want to reduce your data center’s inherent vulnerabilities? Contact us to see how Global IP Networks can insulate you from the direct and indirect costs of a datacenter outage.

Leave a Reply

How can we help you?​

    Area of Interest *

    If people like you, they'll listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you.

    – Zig Ziglar