In today’s business world, data is arguably the most valuable commodity. How you protect, store, and manage your data should, therefore, be a top priority.
Typically, businesses small and large house their data in an off-site data center. But, when the stakes are this high, how can you decide which is best for you?
That’s where our comprehensive guide to choosing the right data center comes in. Below, we’ve detailed the top considerations to make as you begin to navigate the complex, saturated, ever-changing data center marketplace.
It’s time to knuckle down and buckle up. Let’s jump right into it.
“Data matters to any company, regardless of size, sector or type. In fact, data is one of your biggest business assets, alongside your products, services, intellectual property, and people.”
What is a data center?
Data centers are secure facilities where businesses and organizations house their data and their network. By doing this, companies save valuable storage space in their primary workplace, which can help cut IT costs.
With cloud-based storage fast becoming the mainstream, data centers are no longer disparate entities that business owners and employees call on every now and again. They have become critical players in day-to-day operations – extensions of the company itself.
These developments, paired with the increasing importance of data, have made choosing a data center one of the most significant, make-or-break decisions businesses have to make. The right data center can improve productivity, increase storage, and save you money. A bad one, on the other hand, can put your data – and reputation – at risk.
Six considerations to make when selecting a data center
Data centers are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Just like other IT services, their capabilities vary drastically.
With so many variables at play, comparing and selecting a suitable data center has become more challenging than ever before.
The following six considerations will help you fine-tune what matters to you, giving you the best chance of selecting a product that helps your business thrive now – and in the future.
In fact, a staggering 64 percent of IT decision-makers believe that protecting business data has become more difficult over the past five years, despite developments in technology.
Downtime can be extremely detrimental, and data centers are not immune to natural disasters and hardware failures. Check that the data center in question has a backup source of power. Question the provider on their procedures following an emergency or severe weather event.
It’s also worth ensuring the server rooms have ample ventilation and cooling. Improper infrastructure is another leading cause of downtime.
Ideally, avoid working with a data center that boasts an uptime of less than 99 percent.
Location is a significant factor when comparing potential data centers. To determine the ideal location, ask yourself the following questions.
Is budget a top concern?
You will most likely save money by opting for a data center that’s located further away. If budget is a top concern, it could be worth forgoing the advantages of keeping it local.
What type of wiring am I working with?
The distance between your business and your data center will affect speed. If you have copper cables, keep in mind that their signal strength will drop. If your business premises has fiber cabling, this isn’t an issue.
Is my area prone to natural disasters?
If you’re located in a region that’s prone to natural disasters, the safest option is to find a data center that operates on a separate power grid. That way, your office and your data storage are less likely to experience simultaneous downtime in the event of a widespread power outage.
Does my data center need to be easily accessible?
Will your IT workers need to perform upgrades and maintenance? Do you need access to your servers for another reason? If so, a closer data center will save your team from having to travel long distances.
Cyberattacks are not to be taken lightly, and a security breach could result in disaster for your business.
Data centers should use a combination of software, technology, and physical (locks, surveillance, even on-site security personnel) measures to protect the data housed in their facility.
What’s more, hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and threats are becoming even more rampant – cyberattacks are expected to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021.
Emergency backup systems
The best data centers have identified vulnerabilities and have done everything possible to mitigate associated risks.
As we mentioned above, natural disasters and regional power outages are significant threats. Most medium- to large-sized data centers implement a centralized uninterruptible power system (UPS) that starts up when the primary power source is cut. In addition, most house on-site backup generators.
Finally, make sure the center has installed a robust fire suppression system. That way, if there’s a fire, the risk of damage is reduced.
Businesses change over time. And so, too, do their data storage needs. As your operations evolve, you need a data storage service that’s flexible enough to evolve with you. The good news is, most modern-day data centers offer fast, easy, and affordable scaling options.
Word of mouth should always play a role in your research into products and services. Read online reviews and testimonials. Examine the pros and cons outlined by past and current clients. Even ask fellow business owners and managers which data centers they use, and whether or not they’d recommend them.
Making the right decision takes time
Yes, there is a whole lot to consider before you can feel confident that you’ve found a suitable data centre. But, if you take the time to examine your options from every angle now, you can rest easy knowing your data is safe, secure, and accessible. Contact Us with Data Center questions and inquiries.