It’s well known that location is a key factor of a redundant data center. Let’s consider other elements that will make or break the success of your data center experience. While power, cooling and connectivity are essential, let’s focus on some less tangible elements.
The employees who work for your data center can be a strong or weak link in maintaining a prime operating facility and ensuring a trusted colocation experience. You don’t want your data center to have any issues that could cause downtime or security problems for your equipment and information. That starts and ends with the employees who you interact with on a daily basis. We all know what a good employee is and how they should function in their day-to-day tasks. However, it’s the staff members who go the extra mile to exceed your expectations that make the difference in a data center partner that might be more expensive or farther from the office.
Growing businesses require more technology resources for internal business units as well as for customers. This includes data, storage and physical space. Nobody likes working on servers in a cramped hot space with no airflow. We all know moisture and technology are mortal enemies! You also don’t want to pass up the expansion space available to you now when you may need the space three years from now – knowing that your company is growing quickly. A good data center partner will reserve that space for you, the old saying “bigger is always better” is definitely useful in this case.
Security is the key to protecting your mission critical assets, your information and from any unauthorized guests entering the facility. Most, if not all, data centers have some form of security, but how the security force functions and what rules and regulations are in place are different for each facility. Consider these questions:
- Ask your data center for a copy of the security policies in place
- Question the security officers about what goes on and if they’re available 27x7x365
- Ask for a sit down with the head of security to have a discussion with them
The security of your equipment and information is protected by a first line of defense, and as such, you should be questioning how it’s protected. One thing you can look for to help ensure that the data center security is audited and secure is validating through SSAE 16 or SAE SOC (Type 1, 2 or 3) certifications.
Remote Access / On-Site Hands and Eyes (OSHE)
Remote Hands and Eyes service make a major difference with your day-to-day data center operations. Uptime is what keeps you in business. Ask yourself these few questions:
- Do you have access to the facility from a remote location if something critical goes wrong?
- How easy would it be for you to access your equipment in case of a failure?
- Would a vendor have an easy time accessing the data center without any hang ups to work on your equipment to get you back up and running again at full speed?
- Does your data center provide you any sort of remote on-site hands and eyes courtesy or is it a billable charge?
- What is billable and what is not?
- Does your facility offer any monitoring locally in case of emergency?
- Who will your facility alert in case of an emergency with your equipment or a critical facility emergency?
Limited resources mean a limited data center. What resources does your facility have? What do they offer you? You wouldn’t want to go to a car dealership and only have the option to purchase a black or white car, would you? Make sure the data center you choose has different options for you. Consider price flexibility, space options, connectivity, location and even highly skilled staff. Weigh the pros and cons carefully in your search for your next data center. Check out the FIBERTOWN Colocation Checklist
Is your data center trying to lock you into a contract that you’re going to regret, or are they genuine and looking for a partnership where they are an extension of your team. Sometimes the price may not be right or the location may be a little far away, but work with your data center provider and you may find that the extra cost or distance may not be a deal-breaker if the facility offers bonus features. These include recognizable, prompt and highly skilled staff, security that functions and operates well, 100% uptime, connectivity options, abundant space, etc.
Power is critical and as such you need to make sure that the facility you choose has enough available power and you aren’t paying for more than you need. With so many available options, make sure you’re using the correct amount of power and not under or overutilizing your billed power. If you expand your power consumption, make sure you plan for additional circuits to avoid possible damage to your equipment. Do your research and ask as many questions as possible about the data center’s power grid, how the power is brought to you, and what may happen if the main power gets cut to the facility.
The information technology industry goes to great lengths to protect its data. We often employ multiple layers of security through IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems), IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems), firewalls and anti-virus. What happens if someone can physically touch and affect your equipment? We are usually so busy preventing digital attacks that we forget about physical attacks.
If you manage your servers in your own building, consider asking yourself who has access; employees, building maintenance, cleaning staff? How secure is your physical infrastructure? If you’re unsure, it may be time to consider your security options.
Most in-house data centers are generally located behind one or two locked doors. We’ve seen on-site telecom rooms secured with access control but have a shared suspended ceiling with adjacent offices and hallways.
In a colocation data center, where you host your mission critical or backup infrastructure in a dedicated data center operated by a partner, physical security is a way of life.
How FIBERTOWN Layers Physical Security Controls
Data Center Room Controls
Human access is controlled through RFID (key card access) and biometrics. Private data center suites and cages feature key lock access or card readers.
Video surveillance and archiving run 24×7 from more than 70 cameras throughout the facility. Reports can be generated at any time showing traffic flow within our facilities. Escorted access-only for all non-approved visitors.
Building Interior Security
Purpose-built rooms keep customer and telecom equipment highly secured. All HVAC, power and building systems are monitored 24×7 by the Network Operations Center.
Defense mechanisms protect against potential hazards including overhead and underfloor smoke detection, leak detection on all underground piping and dry-pipe pre-action fire suppression in zones throughout the facility.
The FIBERTOWN HOUSTON entrance is manned 24×7 by onsite security, behind bullet-proof glass doors with key card access controls. Guests must check in and present proper identification. All visitors are escorted through the data center by security guards.
A perimeter fence and guarded entry gate provide authorized-only access to the data centers. The private parking lot is monitored 24×7 by onsite personnel. Video recording and monitoring track everyone in and out of the facility.
Understanding not only the digital points of failure but the physical access to equipment is a key component in any business continuity plan.
When troubleshooting IT issues, professionals generally take a bottom-up approach…why not extend this logic to your data security?