Today, IT infrastructure serves as the foundation for most major enterprises. Our businesses revolve around our devices, email, and websites. If the technology crumbles, so does the productivity of our company. In today’s day and age, it is more important than ever to analyze the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and develop long-term IT strategies to avoid any technical disruption.
Colocation is an IT strategy that works for business of all sizes, even enterprises that can afford to own and maintain their own data centers. With very few exceptions, building a data center is not economical and the results rarely meet the standards of data center providers whose whole job is focusing on the security and maintenance of their facilities. This is why so many companies are turning to colocation facilities to host their IT infrastructure. According to the most recent findings from 451 Research, the global colocation market is on track to surpass $33 billion within the next two years.
Besides avoiding building, staffing and managing a data center capable of supporting operations, some of the top reason’s businesses turn to colocation is security, compliance, and control. Here are seven reasons why organizations of varying sizes maintain footprints in colocation facilities.
1. Compliance and Security
Maintaining a fully compliant data center requires a large investment of money and manpower. World-class colocation facilities will do much of the work of security and compliance at the network and physical level, making it the clear option. Many heavily regulated industries are responsible for ensuring that they handle their data responsibly, yet a good colocation provider will have a sound foundation to build off of.
If your organization is looking to focus on their core business operations and reduce their capital investment in infrastructure construction, then colocation is the right choice. A secure and compliant environment gives you peace of mind knowing that your technology and company will always be firing on all cylinders.
Today, when executives discuss security, it often revolves around defending against cyberattacks. However, cybersecurity is just part of the equation. Physical security is also essential. As businesses migrate their operations to a data center colocation facility, there is greater demands on the physical security of commercial data centers.
The loss of data could cause significant damage to customers or partners affected by the inability to operate. Physical security is put in place to withstand everything from natural disasters, and internal threats, to terrorists. Data center providers should build their facility with security in mind and work towards the goal of maintaining 100 percent uptime. In order to achieve the highest level of physical security, here are seven layers that are imperative to have in place:
A. Physical Barriers: Barriers such as fencing, thick concrete walls, lone-standing retaining walls and underground environments are some of the physical security that data centers can offer. Many facilities will also use landscaping as physical protection from outdoor elements. Flag poles, trees, boulders and curved roadways can keep any foreign objects from getting too close. In addition to landscaping protection, crash-proof barriers should be in place to keep a 100-foot buffer zone around the facility’s site.
B. Secure Locations: Building in the right location continues to be a top factor in data center security. When layering security throughout the build of a data center colocation facility, climate protection, seismic activity, terrain type and other natural and man-made disasters should be considered. Another route that colocation providers are taking to secure the physical infrastructure of their data center is to build underground. Underground data centerscan be the safest places to build.
C. 24/7/365 Surveillance: Your colocation provider should have surveillance around the perimeter if the building and at all access points of the building. A combination of motion detectors, low-light cameras, and 360-degree cameras are ideal. Camera footage should be recorded and stored for at least 90 days in case an emergency called for it to be analyzed. Each of LightEdge’s data center facilitiesare equipped with high-res video surveillance of both the outside perimeter and inside room, hallways and rack aisles. The surveillance video has a 91+ day archival period for customers to review tapes when needed.
D. 24/7/365 Live Technicians: Colocation facilities should be staffed by a live technician at all hours of the day. Regardless if it is the middle of the night or a holiday, your provider should have a technician physically working within the data center to provide support around the clock.
E. Vehicle Traps: Access to the data center facility, usually the parking lot, needs to act as a vehicle trap around the infrastructure. Either a winding road or gated entry way should be able to block a vehicle in the case that the driver loses control of his or her vehicle.
F. Secure Access Check-in Process: To get inside, everyone must provide a government issued photo ID. Once approved, visitors should be given a formal ID badge that allows them access into the data center depending on whether they are a customer or a visitor. A visitor should be accompanied by a facility member at all times. The ID badge should limit access to must-go places only to avoid traffic into unauthorized areas of the facility.
G. Multi-Factor Authentication: It is best practice for data centers to have multiple check points throughout the facility. Typically, to gain access to your equipment, you need:
- To go through a secure check-in process with your government issued ID
- To be given a visitor badge and create a pin code
- Your fingerprint
- In some cases, facial scan, retinal scan, etc.
- Your rack or cage key
- With a private suite, a specific badge key card
Different data center colocation facilities may have differing levels of security credentials.
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.
A careful review shows that relinquishing control and security are two major concerns for companies looking to move to the cloud. Thankfully, LightEdge’s top priority is keeping data secure and compliant while still giving you control as needed. In fact, many of our services meet the rigorous standards of:
Data centers have staff on-site consisting of the brightest minds in the technology field. These experts are hired to build, implement, and maintain state of the art infrastructure. They have undergone certifications to manage technical equipment and help customers around the clock.
You may be an organization in the healthcare industry and regulated by HIPAA or you might be in the financial industry and must maintain compliance with PCI DSS. Whatever standards and regulations you must follow, having a compliance expert to help you navigate those regulated waters will allow you to focus more on your business’s core competencies.
When trained security staff is available, a data center colocation provider can become more than a facility. They can become a trusted adviser, giving you access to leverage their depth of expertise. When a data center provides top-of-the-line infrastructure, security technology, compliance, and experts with the knowledge to guide and advise you, they become a Hybrid Solution Center. A Hybrid Solution architects, orchestrates, and manages customers’ hybrid cloud environments from beginning to end.
3. Cost and Space Savings
Data centers provide customers with environmentally controlled white floor space, redundant systems, and around the clock monitoring. This saves your organization valuable money and space.
The highest recurring cost of running a data center is labor. In addition to removing the labor costs of hiring contracting electricians, engineers, technicians, compliance experts and other required employees, data center providers also offer managed security services. This means companies do not have to hire someone to service their IT environment.
Of course, there will be an investment for servers and other hardware, but the data center itself that includes the land, the building, the redundant bandwidth connections, the state-of-the-art power and cooling systems, the staffing, the compliance is not a cost or space burden on IT budgets. Sharing the costs with other organizations allows businesses to leverage the capabilities of an enterprise-grade data center without the enterprise-grade price tag.
LightEdge has found that control is a major consideration when companies look to migrate their infrastructure to a data center. You should never have to lose that control. Colocation providers can offer customized and scalable services that gives your team control. Whether you need a colocation rack, cage or custom suite now or in the future, your provider will adapt alongside your needs.
The need for scalability makes the choice to use colocation data center services very attractive. 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 a perfect fit for you.
Data center racks and servers perform best in consistently cool temperatures in a dust-free environment. Even the cleanest offices do not have the best real-time air quality monitoring and redundant power and cooling systems. When choosing a data center infrastructure provider, it is important to understand what certifications and security processes they have in place.
Cooling and Monitoring
Cooling is a major cost factor in data centers, and if implemented poorly, can cause equipment failures. LightEdge uses redundant Liebert DS chilled water cooling systems that are implemented and monitored in each of our data center facilities to ensure that servers are always kept at their optimal operating temperature.
Real-Time Air Quality Monitoring
Changing, maintaining and monitoring data center environmental conditions are of importance to IT and power equipment. All of LightEdge’s data center facilities have a real-time air quality monitoring platform to ensure conformance with ASHRAE TC 9.9 standards for A1 environments.
6. Emergency Preparedness
At the core of any emergency preparedness plan is a facility that will maintain operations during an unplanned outage. What would happen to your mission critical infrastructure and data if a disaster were to hit this very second? Are you prepared? If not, or if you’re in need of a better disaster recovery solution.
It is important that your disaster recovery and emergency preparedness plan is tailored to your specific business to ensure that your systems and data are protected. To know that your organization can continue to operate in the event of an actual disaster is critical. All elements of your business IT hinge on the dependability of your technology to deliver vital information right when you need it.
By migrating your infrastructure to a colocation facility, your business will be able to continue operating during any emergency.
Your colocation provider should have a data center designed to provide:
- N+1 redundancy on every main component
- Multiple power feeds for redundant loop connectivity
- Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and backup diesel generators
- Multiple carriers and physically diverse connection points to ensure network availability
- Flexible hybrid hosting solutions that blend colocated equipment, managed private clouds, and managed services
- 24/7/365 full hybrid IT support—an onsite team of expert engineers
- Customized solutions—based on your specific business needs, RPO/RTO requirements, and budget
- Compliant DR services—designed for banking, healthcare, e-commerce, and other highly regulated and high-security businesses
7. Secure Network Connection
In addition to a secure location and infrastructure, a secure network connection is of prime importance. It is best practice for data center colocation providers to consider all vulnerabilities when it comes to network routing and connection.
Businesses are starting to require more and more bandwidth and greater network speeds to keep up with their competitors. As a result, these growing needs have made connectivity a major factor when considering data center colocation facilities. Carrier neutral facilities have the ability to deliver high bandwidth and high reliability with low latency service. Generally, latency will be the main factor in transferring data to and from a data center. Latency is the delay before a transfer of data begins following the instruction for its transfer.
Make LightEdge Part of Your IT Strategy
Finding a colocation provider that meets the seven data center standards 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 the predictably and cost-effectiveness. LightEdge provides customers with an extended team of experienced engineers and helps to focus resources on agility and differentiation. 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.
- 5 Reasons Your Growing Business Needs Compliant Colocation
- The Best of Both Worlds: Colocation and PCI DSS Compliance
- Data Center Design: Compliance, Location and Regulations
- Data Center Security: Why Providers Should Build Security into Every Detail
- What to Look for in HIPAA Compliant Hosting
- Data Center Checklist: 5 Factors for Choosing a Data Center