Feeling insecure? It's time to find a data centre

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By Steve Davis, marketing director, NGD

It seems hardly a day goes by without a market survey uncovering yet more shock horror findings about companies of all shapes and sizes believing or knowing they are insecure when it comes to their data security.  But many still admit to be avoiding best practice even though threat levels are higher than ever.

Equally surprising, many organisations still view colocation data centres as being out of reach and soldier on with their servers and critical data on the premises. On the contrary, colocation data storage and hosting is more accessible than ever to businesses in this country thanks to the tumbling cost of high speed fibre network connectivity. This is allowing more data centre operators to locate well away from the traditional data centre heartlands of London and inside the M25 to places where real estate and labour costs are cheaper. In turn this is creating more competition which is being reflected in lower customer pricing.

Some very large and modern data centres now have the economies of scale to go even further by combining the less costly location benefits with a much reduced minimum size threshold for data hosting and storage. This also opens the door for start-up and smaller businesses to take advantage. For example an offer of rack space, cooling, power and connectivity infrastructure for under £25 per day in a Tier 3 data centre was simply off the radar a year ago.

All aboard

So with the growing choice of good quality and affordable colocation facilities now available companies should now be deciding which colo partner to pick and how to differentiate between them. It is no longer a case of ‘how’ to keep data and businesses safe and secure as the solution to the problem is already out there.     

But when it comes to data centre pricing it’s rather like booking a flight and comparing a budget airline or charter fight versus a major scheduled carrier. On the face of it the budget and charter guys will most likely appear cheaper and better value. That’s until you click through to the next page and see all the catches such as additional compulsory and optional extras. Things like inconvenient flight times, less frequency, hold baggage weight limits, costs to sit together or for more legroom, meals and refreshments…it all starts to add up.       

Certainly sufficient space for now and the future, proven certifiable security and operational credentials, high levels of resilience and power, along with DR and business continuity contingencies are also very important criteria to carefully evaluate. But watch out for the small print and any hidden costs and get out clauses.

Similarly, to attract smaller customers into colo, some providers will not be as transparent as others. Be sure to look beyond the headline deals especially on rack power and connectivity, infrastructure level and official certifications, and type of service level agreements on offer.

There are also practical things to consider such as availability of (free) parking facilities and meeting rooms, as well transportation and installation of your existing and new IT systems - often known as server migration. Ideally you will want a provider who can move your IT in for you leaving you without the headache of setting things up.

A few colo providers will be all inclusive, some limited, and others offering pretty much everything but all charged on top.  All ways round, doing that extra mile of due diligence on who to select as your partner will ensure a safe and secure stay at your chosen data centre destination - without any unforeseen surprises!

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