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Why Colocation Boosts Long-Term Scalability

The need for long-term scalability makes colocation an attractive option to most growing businesses. If an organization were to build their own on-premises data center, they would face the challenge of determining what the best size would be. Not only would the data center facility need to meet their current requirements, but also be able to scale for unpredictable future capacity needs. There is a major risk of spending money on space that will never be needed. If you over-build, you could waste precious resources that could have been used to grow your business.

On the other hand, if an organization doesn’t have enough space, they risk having to build another facility or adding on a costly expansion. Considering these major risks that come with building your own data center when you aren’t inherently a data center company, many are turning to data center providers to deliver proven, scalable and cost-effective solutions.

The “pay-as-you-grow” model provides the flexibility that growing businesses are looking for. Enterprises can add or remove leased space as needed and only pay for what is being used. Colocation providers reduce the risk of having idle or insufficient space to manage.

Shared Cost of Space

Multi-tenant data centers allow for companies to take advantage of the compliance, security, and most importantly, the cost savings. Sharing a space and redundant infrastructure with other companies is more cost-effective than maintaining a self-owned data center from every angle.

Shared Cost of Compliance

In addition to the cost savings for sharing data center space, organizations can take advantage of a colocation provider’s compliance certifications. According to Pivot Point Security, a ballpark cost for a certification audit for an ISO 27001 certification alone is $10,000. The total cost for the certification itself is an additional $48,000. This one badge must be renewed annually.

Every organization may have different standards and attest to their compliance in a different manner. This is because organizations may be structured to serve industries differently. Despite organizational differences, compliance standards like SSAE 18 help to ensure there are present controls implemented by SOC Reports framework.

All standards are expensive and typically require a strenuous auditing process. If you look for a colocation provider, your organization can outsource this cost of compliance. Here is a list of top compliance standards a world-class colocation provider and their facilities may have:


SSAE 18, or Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagement No. 18, establish requirements and provide application guidance to auditors for:

  • Performing and reporting on examinations
  • Reviewing processes
  • Agreeing upon procedure engagements (including SOC attestations)

As of May 1, 2017, SSAE 18 has been in effect. SSAE 18 is a series of enhancements aimed to increase the usefulness and quality of SOC reports. The new standard has suspended SSAE 16. The key differences that SSAE 18 brings to light is the way service organizations deal with subservice organizations.

SSAE 18 also require a data center colocation facility to provide the service auditor with a risk assessment that highlights the organization’s key internal risks. This ensures that the provider’s controls are regularly reviewed, vulnerabilities are addressed, and updates are made to mitigate risk.

SOC Reports

According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SOC Reports are designed to help service organizations (data center colocation providers) build trust and confidence in the service performed, as well as all controls related to the services, through a report by an independent auditor. Each type of SOC report is designed to help service organizations meet specific user needs. Now, for those of you who want to get into the nitty gritty, here are the different types of SOC Reports:

What is a SOC 1 Report? SOC 1 Report is a report on controls at a service organization which are relevant to user entity’s internal control over financial reporting. A data center colocation provider would need a SOC 1 report to provide you, the end user, with reasonable assurance that the internal controls are suitably designed and operating effectively to provide you the data center service.

SOC 1 reports can be Type I or Type II reports, so what’s the difference? Type I reports are dates that include a description of the data center’s systems and the tests they use to determine whether their controls are designed appropriately. Type II reports, include a description of the data center’s system and test the design and operating effectiveness over a period of time (usually 12 months).

What is a SOC 2 Report? SOC 2 Report is a report that is intended to meet the needs of a broad range of users who need information and assurance about controls that affect the security, availability or processing integrity of the systems that the data center provider uses.

What is a SOC 3 Report? SOC 3 reports on similar information to SOC 2. The main difference between the two is that SOC 3 is intended for a general audience. Due to their more general nature, SOC 3 reports can be shared openly and posted on a company’s website with a seal indicating their compliance.

Finding a data center colocation provider whose guidelines meet your strict compliance standards and can scale with your business is important when it comes to keeping your data safe. When selecting a provider, ask them about the compliance badges they possess. Many industries require additional compliance specific to the services they deliver, the payments they accept, and the clients they serve. For instance, the healthcare industry is regulated by HIPAA compliance and the financial and banking industry is regulated by PCI DSS compliance standards. Ensure that your data center provider also demonstrates the same rigorous compliance standards that fall within their control.

Equipment Scalability

Whether you have one server or many more, it does not matter. With colocation, you will always have the option to upsize or downsize depending on your needs. Yet, scaling up has particular benefits to housing your servers at a colocation facility, and as a growing business, this would be the ideal fit for you.

The need for scalability makes the choice to use colocation data center services very attractive. Scalability is a key reason for a business to migrate to a colocation provider’s facility, according to Data Center Knowledge. Turning to a data center colocation provider allows you to “pay-as-you-grow.” You simply lease more data center colocation space whenever you need it – no need to wait months or years for a complex and costly construction project to be completed.

Options for colocation may be as small as 1 rack unit or as large as 10,000 square feet or more. LightEdge has solutions to meet you where you are today and grow with your business. Do you need three racks and 15kW of power today and then in 12 months’ six more racks and 30kw of power? Not a problem. LightEdge can provision the space and power with the foresight to help you plan for your future growth requirements.

Network Scalability

Many data center providers have access to tools that can facilitate faster movement and support rapid network growth in an organized and systematic way. Scalability of a data center network is the ability to construct and expand a network with simple, repeatable designs that can accommodate increased traffic or new devices without impacting applications, workflows, or the cost per port.

Some critical requirements of data center network scalability include:

  • Cost effective host and network Ethernet interfaces that match server speeds
  • The ability to manage multiple devices as a single system without trading functionality to scale operations
  • Scalable network solutions for deploying global network policies and the ability for these to be set and coalesced with external management systems from different vendors
Connectivity Scalability

Data center providers must have strategies to deploy a standardized connectivity infrastructure. Standardized systems help colocation providers create a framework and provides flexibility for additions or changes.

According to Belden, implementing a standardized process for connectivity systems allows for pre-configured (one-SKU) solutions that help end-users streamline connectivity during purchasing, and provides a baseline set of standards for data center technicians working to accommodate scale and configuration of new and existing IT equipment.

Managing Scalability Risks

While scalable data center solutions provide many advantages, customers should create a serious vetting process before selecting their colocation provider. As a data center grows, so can the risk associated with scalability. Pay attention to the following factors to ensure your data center meets your businesses needs and manages risks effectively:

Physical Security Scalability Risks:

Each data center has its own set of physical security risks. A secure check-in process and multi-factor authentication throughout the facility including pin codes, badges, and finger prints or facial recognition are security measures that all world-class data centers should have. As solutions become scalable, data centers should invest greater resources to adequately secure the facility.

Additional live technicians and security cameras are needed to monitor the interior and exterior perimeter. In addition, as the data center grows, the amount of equipment needed to operate effectively increases. As critical infrastructure increases, so does the number of potential points of failure. Building Management Systems and 24/7 onsite technicians are critical to help maintain constant visibility and support.

Partner with a colocation provider who has the necessary experience and expertise in managing physical security risks is important to an organization’s long-term success.

Cybersecurity Scalability Risks:

Physical security is just one layer of the data center puzzle. Monitoring cybersecurity is equally as critical. In growing data center facilities, many users have large deployments, or are housing an increased number of systems in the facility. The more systems housed in the same facility can lead to vulnerabilities. While this is rare, there are instances where security failures provide cyber criminals with access to more than one user’s applications in a facility.

The risks of increased foot traffic can also create a cybersecurity threat. If the traffic is not monitored correctly, someone with malicious intent cloud be positioned to access customer systems in the facility. That is why a secure check-in process and multi-factor authentication is imperative. Thankfully, LightEdge’s colocation facilities are:

  • Designed for high-density cloud computing environments
  • Backed by 24/7/365 remote hands technical support for tactical response
  • Interconnected with an advanced network backbone to serve next-gen computing requirements
  • Scalable from a single rack to 10,000-square-foot suites
  • Highly trained and industry-certified techs diagnose, isolate, troubleshoot and resolve issues in a highly controlled manner
  • Facilities meet compliance standards for HIPAA, PCI, HITRUST, and more

Scale with LightEdge

Finding a colocation provider that meets the scalability needs listed above will allow for you to grow your business without fear of interrupting your mission-critical infrastructure. As a top-tier colocation services provider, we deliver a high level of availability and reliability through secure, certified data centers and dedicated staff onsite. Our customized and scalable services give you the control, whether you need a colocation rack, cage, or custom suite now or in the future.

LightEdge’s highly-trained compliance and security experts take the guesswork out of keeping your business protected. Trust our expertise to ensure you are covered through our security and compliance services, including risk management, information security, audit preparedness, and support.

With geographically-dispersed facilities across all of the US power grids, our data centers are the heart of our operation and yours. We have a wide range of colocation and disaster recovery solutions delivering advanced shared infrastructure designed to enable operational and financial efficiency, reducing the burden on your IT staff.

LightEdge business support services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no exceptions. Our technical support starts with direct access to technicians in LightEdge’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via a toll-free number for emergencies. The MyLightEdge Portal allows you to open tickets, track progress and more for all of your services.

Customers turn to LightEdge to reduce risk of non-compliance, scale security, and for our proven  predictably and cost-effectiveness. LightEdge provides customers with an extended team of experienced engineers, so you can refocus internal resources on agility, differentiation, and running towards achieving your desired business outcomes. Are you curious how your current provider stacks up? Our security experts will provide a free security assessment to see how you measure up against the latest compliance and security standards. No risk, no commitment. Contact us today to get your free security assessment.

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