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Utilities most critical industry in the world – but cloud fast catching up

11 Jul 2017

Utilities is the most critical industry in the world according to a new ranking from Vertiv.

This includes electricity, gas, nuclear power and water treatment, and was determined by a panel of global critical infrastructure experts who systematically quantified and ranked the criticality of multiple industries.

Mass transit — specifically rail and air transportation — ranked second on the list, followed by telecommunications, upstream oil and gas activity, and cloud and colocation.

The panel set criteria that ascertained the range of potential impacts from the loss of availability of critical systems and then weighted them based on the severity of the impact.

This data was then used to formulate a criticality rubric that the panel used to score the industries and rank them based on their average scores.

“If there is a common theme at the top of this list, it is the interconnectedness of these industries,” says Jack Pouchet, vice president of market development at Vertiv.

“These sectors are important to the foundation of today’s society, and downtime in any of these areas can reverberate across industries and around the globe. This will only continue as our world becomes more mobile and more connected and as the Internet of Things expands.”

Clean power and water are fundamental needs in any developed society and underpin most other industries and services so it was obvious that utilities would be topping the list as the most critical industry.

In our increasingly connected world, telecommunications have also become critical and like utilities underpin almost all other industries, reflecting the importance of communications and connectivity in personal and business activities and emergency situations.

However, it is cloud and colocation that is the big mover and shaker, not only coming in as the fifth most critical industry in the world but also in third for financial impact of unplanned downtime – behind e-commerce and financial services, respectively.

In fact, the panel identified cloud and colocation as one of several rapidly emerging industries that are becoming increasingly critical.  

“Cloud and colocation growth continues to accelerate,” says panelist Tony Gaunt, senior director for colocation, cloud and banking, financial services and insurance for Vertiv in Asia.

“We are right at the beginning of the up curve for core industries’ cloud adoption, and it’s likely that future critical services—the IoT networks that support smart cities and manufacturing, for example—will develop in the cloud.”

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