Colocation services are increasingly important to businesses, particularly those in the IT sector. The number of companies offering these services is growing, and as a result, deciding which data centre is right for your business can be difficult. The individual needs of your business will dictate which service provider is best for you, but there are a few basic components that are absolutely essential in a data centre.
Regardless of how large or small the storage space you require, you need to ensure that a data centre has a reliable power supply and backup options. A steady connection to the grid is not enough. A centre needs to provide details of their contingency plans in case of power outages and surges. Ask about the quantity and quality of onsite backup generators, and ensure that there are procedures in place for long-term outages.
Data centres also must defend your information from other threats, like fire, flooding and problems with the computer hardware. Enquire about the protection measures in place for such situations. Facilities should have extensive fire suppression, well-maintained, watertight buildings, and adequate cooling and ventilation systems to prolong the life and performance of the computer hardware.
If you are to trust a third-party with your vital data, you need to be absolutely certain that your information won’t be lost due to a short-term power blackout or easily containable fire.
Obviously, power isn’t the only potential threat to the safety of your data. The sensitivity of that information can make it an enticing target for corporate espionage, so ensure the data centres you are using have adequate security measures throughout their facility. Most will advertise the extent of their safety features, but it pays to do some additional probing when shopping around for a suitable data host.
The measures you require can vary depending on the manner of your business, and the type of data being stored, but a data centre should at the very least utilise security cameras to monitor halls, entrances and especially the computer rooms, alarm systems, and guards or other security staff onsite at all times. Other facilities may contain systems like automated locking doors, biometric hand scanners and mantraps. Depending on the sensitivity of your information, it may be best to invest in a data centre with these additional security measures in place.
Not all security threats come from onsite attacks: data centres, like those run by Macquarie Telecom<, protect businesses against external security breaches over the network by encrypting data, and providing their clients with a secure link to their information.
The information you store with a data centre may need to be accessed without warning, or outside of business hours. After all, it is still the property of your company, and a facility needs to allow you access to it whenever you require. You’re better off not settling for a service that doesn’t allow access 24/7: even if your routine rarely requires after hours work, it’s best to allow yourself the convenience in case of unexpected emergencies.
Companies offering total managed colocation are your best options. These facilities have staff onsite at all times for security, maintenance and support, and many can provide you with remote technical support, to help resolve issues as quickly as possible.
Author bio: Michael Irving is a freelance writer and blogger, who’s been studying the business of managed colocation services lately, from companies like Macquarie Telecom.