While UPS system failure is the number-one reason for data center outages, cybercrime comes in a close second, and Denial of Service, or DoS, is the most common form of cyberattacks on data centers.
That’s according to recent survey findings by the Ponemon Institute, a Michigan-based research center that studies issues of privacy, data protection, and information security. Earlier this year, Ponemon looked at the costs and reasons of data center outages, but a more recent study focused on costs associated with outages caused specifically by DoS attacks, since they are on the rise.
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The institute conducts data center outage studies yearly. These studies are sponsored by Emerson Network Power, which is one of the biggest data center infrastructure equipment vendors.
DoS attacks as a root cause of unplanned data center outages have skyrocketed over the past six years:
These attacks can be quite costly to the victim organization, most of the cost going toward recovery and detection activities. Of the 270-plus organizations surveyed, the lowest-cost attack was about $14,000, while the highest-cost attack was $2.35 million.
The average cost of a DoS attack to the organization has risen since 2010:
In 32 percent of the DoS attack incidents survey respondents reported, their data centers suffered a partial outage, while 17 percent suffered total outage. The study considers impairment to one or more servers a partial outage:
The extent of the outage affects its cost to the victim organization. The average cost of DoS attacks that did not lead to outages was $36,800; the average cost for partial DoS-related data center outages was $302,920; and a total outage caused by a DoS attack cost an average of $610,300.
The study also found that organizations that avoid outages following a DoS attack have some common characteristics. They include a command and control governance structure, high data center redundancy, network intelligence tools, advanced threat intelligence, well-defined incident response plans, and enterprise deployment of anti-DoS tools.