Friday, July 10, 2015
Battling Human Error: Bane of the Data Center
Like any great antagonist, human error in the data center threatens your safety from multiple angles. And while it may seem silly to emphasize the danger that personnel mistakes pose to your facility, consider that even high-profile data centers are commonly racked by unplanned downtime as a result of flubs of the fingertips. According to Data Center Dynamics, The New York Stock Exchange suffered almost four hours of unplanned downtime as recently as July 8, as a result of a problem that NYSE President Thomas Farley described as a "technical configuration problem."
"New policies will help vanquish one of your facility's biggest foes."
Considering human error can topple high profile institutions like the NYSE, there's a decent chance your data center could stand to update its approach toward anticipating and preventing human error from sinking critical business applications. Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies that you can deploy to keep the threat of human error at bay. Having a meaningful conversation with your staff about the consequences of little mistakes and deploying a new set of policies will help vanquish one of your facility's biggest foes.
Recognize the risks posed by your staff
Still bent on underestimating the peril caused by human error? According to Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine, a study of abnormal instances in the data center attributed 70 percent of unplanned downtime in the data center to mistakes made by staff onsite. There's no reason to believe your staff is perfect, and doing so actually makes your facility more vulnerable to their occasional blunders. Human error does the most damage when your facility is unprepared to respond - neglecting to plan for these issues could lead to a preventable catastrophe.
Establish clear process ownership guidelines
FacilitiesNet stressed the importance of ensuring that there are clear expectations for every department regarding how its employees interact with the data center. That's because there is a greater chance of a network-crippling human error occurring when employees without expertise are allowed access to sensitive technology. Furthermore, the resource suggested generating updated written processes to set clearer guidelines for ownership of different components of the data center. Taking these steps will help improve accountability and encourage employees to think twice before committing carelessness in the data center.
Encourage communication between staff members
Sometimes human error strikes the data center simply because staff members mistakenly assume they are on the same page. Miscommunications could easily lead to unattended maintenance, missed status checks and a multitude of other small mishaps that eventually pile up to form an adversarial challenge to network stability. The best way to minimize these communication problems is to equip your employees with better tools. For example, consider implementing additional work log policies to help employees set clear expectations with each other about which tasks have been completed and which sections of the facility still need attention.
Protect your data center from the threat of human error.
Neglect physical security at your own peril
Theft is another huge risk factor for data centers, and employee incompetence can play a huge role in providing criminals with the opportunity they need to access your secure data. It's common for data center employees to overlook the dangers of physical theft once they've secured the network from digital threats. Don't let employees take the presence of an unfamiliar intruder or overlook unauthorized access to business critical data by their co-workers. You may also want to consider using remote console servers to minimize total foot traffic in and out of the data center. Creating a lax physical environment is nearly tantamount to begging a thief to target your data center. Cracking down on human error across the board will help make your facility better protected in the long run.
Perle's wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.