Human error remains one of the biggest causes of unplanned network downtime, according to Symantec's latest State of the Data Centre Report 2008 released last month. Commissioned by Symantec, US-based Applied Research conducted the report and surveyed 1600 companies worldwide: 414 in Asia Pacific and 30 in Australia.
The report found that globally 25 percent of network downtime incidents in 2008 were caused by human error, and companies, as they did in 2007, still see it as one of their biggest causes. Similarly, the Australian results found that 19 percent of local companies surveyed blamed human error. Hardware or software failure and power outages were also some of the key causes of unplanned downtime for Australian respondents.
"Human error is always going to show up on the radar. I think that's what you'll find as an average, doesn't matter how much infrastructure you put in place, there is always going to be that human error impact," said Symantec's David Dzienciol, senior director, enterprise sales and partners, Pacific region.
Careless employees or unqualified employees? The problem may well be blamed on the skills shortage that had been plaguing businesses especially in Australia for the past several years. According to the survey, 43 percent of the respondents globally and 46 percent in Australia said finding qualified applicants was a big or huge problem.
And things aren't looking to get easier for data centre operators despite the economic downturn and Australia's latest unemployment rate rising to 4.5 percent, manpower, especially in highly skilled technology roles remains an issue.
"This report taught us that 46 percent of Australian companies are still understaffed in the data centre. The key thing here is finding the right applicants and that's really where the focus is going to be, how do I find people to come into my data centre and manage my data centre?" said Dzienciol.
He said one of the trends Symantec picked up from the report is that organisations are cross training their IT staff across multiple disciplines, from one database platform to another. "Organisations want to get their staff cross skilled so they don't have to go out to market every time they come across a new project," he said.
At the same time, Dzienciol believes the staffing issue presented through the report presents a good opportunity for Symantec's channel partners. "Organisations will look to the channel to selectively out-task particular projects, in particular where those projects are aligned with cost savings and automation. We've seen over time that the channel plays a very specialised role around emerging technologies."