CIOs Bedeviled by IT Services Access, App Downtime

While businesses are already calling for greater availability, IT departments are missing the recovery time objective (RTO) their businesses demand.

app downtime and veeam software

The vast majority (82 percent) of CIOs admit that they are unable to meet their business’ need for immediate, always-on access to IT services, according to a global survey by Veeam Software.

This availability gap has immediate costs, as application failure costs enterprises more than $2 million a year in lost revenue, productivity, opportunities and data irretrievably lost through backups failing to recover.

The reasons CIOs are under pressure include more frequent, real-time interactions among customers, partners, suppliers and employees (65 percent of respondents), the need to access applications across time zones (56 percent); increased adoption of mobile devices (56 percent), employees working outside regular hours (54 percent), and an increasing level of automation for decision making and transactions (53 percent).

"A number of factors can cause applications hosted in data centers to become suddenly unavailable, from unexpected issues that arise during 'routine' maintenance updates to power outages, data corruption and administrator errors," Doug Hazelman, Veeam's vice president of product strategy, told eWEEK. "Then, of course, you have natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy that will simply wipe out data centers in a region that many considered safe."

Hazelman said companies relying on applications hosted in data centers need to make sure their mission critical apps are backed up continuously and can be restored quickly.

He noted 82 percent of CIOs surveyed said that they are failing to meet businesses’ always-on demands, a figure that he said he thinks a lot of people will find shocking.

"What’s most surprising about this number is that for companies in many industries such as e-commerce and financial services, applications don’t just help them run their business – applications are their business," he explained. "A CIO’s job is to make sure that technology is allowing for the transfer of information that’s essential to a company’s day-to-day business, and it’s clear from this study that the majority of CIOs are not living up to their responsibilities and expectations."

While businesses are already calling for greater availability, IT departments are missing the recovery time objective (RTO) their businesses demand for mission-critical data by more than an hour and are more than 2.5 hours away from the always-on standards set by modern availability solutions.

Even more troubling, they are missing the required recovery point objective (RPO), how often data is backed up, by 1.5 hours, and they are a whopping 4.5 hours away from modern always-on standards.

The survey also revealed unplanned application downtime occurs more than once per month (13 times per year), and that unplanned application downtime costs an organization between $1.4 million and $2.3 million annually in lost revenue, decreased productivity and missed opportunities.

Meanwhile, one in six backup recoveries fails, meaning that with 13 incidents of application downtime per year, data will be permanently lost at least twice. This lost data costs enterprises a minimum of $682,000 annually.

Organizations are also risking between $4.4 million and $7.9 million of lost application data from downtime incidents each year, the survey indicated.

"Financial services and e-commerce companies have a particularly miserable time when their apps go down," Hazelman explained. "For companies in these industries even a few seconds or minutes of downtime can result in significant financial losses, and the consequences of downtime lasting hours or days can be potentially catastrophic."