30 April 2019

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7 Key Points to Consider When Choosing a Data Center

Data Center by Tom Collins

Information is the worlds most important commodity. And typically, information is stored as data somewhere on the Internet.

With so much riding on the proper storage, security, and handling of data, it's essential that your business finds the right place to house it all. Proper data management is what makes data centers a valuable asset to any company, whether large or small. But with so many options, how can you decide what matters when making your decision?

This article will explore the top things you need to consider when choosing a data center so you can be sure your choice is the right one.

7 Considerations When Choosing a Data Center

Just like different types of tools, the capabilities of a data center can vary dramatically. In fact, they offer so many options that it's generally easy to find the one that meets your needs. Still, you need to understand what those needs are before you can sign up for service.

These factors will explain why considering them is important and help you fine-tune what matters to your data center selection.

1. Location

Location is one of the most important factors when selecting your data center. Although you could save money with a center that's further away, you'll lose some of the benefits of having it close by.

Depending on the type of wiring you're working with, the distance between your company and your data center will impact Internet speed. Copper cables lose strength around 330 feet if they want to maintain their signal. With fiber, this is isn't a problem, reaching almost 25 miles before you'd notice even a slightly slower connection.

In areas prone to natural disasters, finding a data center that's on a separate power grid and away from any potential risk is the safer option. By using a data center on another power grid, your data won't be affected at the same time your company's office is, reducing the number of issues you'll have to work through at once in the event of a major regional power outage.

Finally, you want to ensure the data center is easily accessible. If your IT staff needs to perform maintenance or upgrades, you won't have to pay them as much for unproductive travel time.

2. Reliability

Having a backup source of power is essential to a suitable data center. Take a look at what redundant systems the data center offers in case of emergencies and inclement weather. Additionally, you'll want to ensure there's proper ventilation and cooling within their infrastructure.

93% of companies that lost their data center for ten days or more because of a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year. Look for a reliability percentage over 99% to avoid joining the bankruptcy statistic.

3. Security

Having a proper security system is critical to a data center. Because it houses all your enterprise data and applications, a breach could mean disaster for your business. The average cost of a cyber attack on data centers rounds out to $4 million.

Data centers should use software and technology that protect your assets, but they should also have strong physical security. Your center should have proper locks, surveillance, and depending on the size, even security personnel.

You should also verify that their security features and objectives don't limit the scalability of your service.

4. Network Services Capacity

All data centers have a limit to their capacity without upgrading infrastructure. Variables like network reliability, speed, and even security can give you an idea of how strong the network is built.

Assuming you're choosing a data center that supports fiber optic cabling, you should ensure they have space and power to meet your future needs. Identify how much you could need as your company grows so you can plan for getting more bandwidth from the start.

Another way to give yourself more control over the total capacity of your data center is to invest in server colocation. This involves using a shared local facility. You rent space and the power, cooling and security systems are maintained by the data center operator. Although you'll be dividing the space and paying by the rack, you'll also be getting 24/7 staffing and increased security procedures.

5. Flexibility and Scalability

If your business faces a lot of changing requirements as you pivot to different projects, it's vital to find a data center who can keep up with your demands. Fortunately, with modern technology, advancements are creating ways to become more flexible.

6. Emergency Backup

A good data center has identified any single points of failure and found ways to mitigate risks. Like we discussed earlier, natural disasters and power outages are potential problems for these facilities.

Any medium to large data center will use a centralized uninterruptible power system (UPS) for emergency power. These systems automatically kick on when the original power source is cut and will display the amount of energy remaining before they run out as well. Back up generators should be on-site, even if you aren't in an area that experiences constant outages.

Additionally, ensure the center has a proper fire suppression system, so there is a chance that damage can be mitigated in the event of a fire.

7. Reputation

Like you would with any purchase, do your research to find out what reputation the data center has. While no provider will be perfect, reading testimonials and feedback from other clients gives you insight into how the center handles issues.

Take your time evaluating the data centers on your list and don't hesitate to call clients to get their impressions.

Choosing a Data Center: The Takeaway

Selecting a data center that meets your needs is an important decision for your company. The wrong data center could lead to issues with poor Internet service, limited scaling, and security breaches.

While these factors will get you started, you should download our guide, 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Data Center Services for Your Business. This free eBook will give you the exact questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line.





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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.