If Data Centers Are Understaffed, What Does That Mean For Security?

from the seems-like-a-problem dept

While I'm always a little skeptical of the numbers found in vendor surveys, it wouldn't be too surprising to learn that the recent findings that half of all data centers find themselves understaffed are at least close to accurate. About 16% of the total surveyed claimed that their data centers were "extremely understaffed," with another 34% saying they were just somewhat understaffed. Reasons for the understaffing included both the difficulty of finding qualified people for more technologically complex datacenters and general economic cutbacks -- neither of which are particularly surprising.

The bigger question is what impact this will have. Chronic understaffing in a data center could lead to serious security issues, increased downtime (decreased reliability) and certainly decreased responsiveness to problems. With many of the survey respondents also claiming they're hoping to decrease headcount even further, this could become a bigger issue going forward.

The report also claims that the survey's creators were "surprised" to find out that mid-market companies were more likely to experiment with new technologies, as compared to the big companies, but I don't find that surprising at all. Big companies are pretty resistant to change (especially if they have some big IT project that is "working.") Still, if those companies are finding their data centers regularly understaffed, it could create more difficulty in getting getting new projects successfully off the ground. So I'm curious how companies are dealing with these issues and trying to avoid problems with understaffed data centers, while still being able to try out new technologies and services.
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Filed Under: data centers, it, security


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  1. icon
    another mike (profile), 25 Jan 2010 @ 3:36pm

    transformation by elimination

    Our office, a large government sector IT services provider, was able to transform our operations over the course of a hardware refresh cycle. A facility that was run by almost 200 people is now managed by a team of 3. All the base metal, the rack-mounted servers, the "pizza boxes", were all replaced by blade centers and SANs. All those blades are just running hypervisors, virtual machines. There isn't a real computer left in there.
    Now the 200-odd engineers and contractors that used to be in the room sitting at consoles configuring their projects just hand off a network diagram to the lab monkeys. They sit at their desks and instantiate the network then tell the engineer to point their browser at the lab proxy, which picks up the engy's smart card and hands over their virtual environment.
    The old system run by 200 people was woefully understaffed. Even this new system run by three people is understaffed but not by nearly as much as before.

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