In today's web-based and online driven business economy, 24/7 access to your company's IT infrastructure – web-enabled or online applications, email, business transaction systems, customer order systems, etc. – is imperative. Therefore, knowing the answer to "Where are your servers?" is critical.
The answer from business owners is often one of the following, depending on the size of the company and its IT department:
- I'm not sure... my IT department takes care of that.
- My IT person has them in the "closet down the hall".
- We have a small server room/data centre on site.
If any one of these sound like a response you would give, then you are not getting the most out of your IT infrastructure. In fact, you're likely putting your business at risk. It often makes sense for small businesses to invest in an IT infrastructure initially by getting a few servers on site. But as business grows and your IT systems expand, your reliance on your IT infrastructure for revenue, customer interaction, internal communication and general business management needs to grow with it. Your ability to keep up with the demands of these systems can quickly out-strip the resources you have in IT.
It only takes a small outage of your email system, web site, or order entry system to powerfully demonstrate that ICT (Information and Communications Technology) is not just an operating cost or support department, but a key business driver. Recognizing your servers as such tends to change how you view them. The information they contain and the business processes supported by them need to be available, period. It's not an option.
"We house our servers with an outsourced managed data centre facility."
If this is your answer, then you are among the group of businesses that have already come to understand that the best place to house your servers is with a reliable and secure data centre provider.
Making the move to a secure outsourced data centre provider solves many of the challenges companies grapple with, such as:
- How do I ensure that servers are secure and that only authorized IT staff have physical access?
A proper outsourced data centre deploys multiple layers of physical security, including biometric iris scanners, to ensure proper physical security.
- Do I have enough skilled IT staff to manage day-to-day server issues?
A managed colocation service provides you with IT resources to help supplement your own, keeping you focused on your core business strategies and less on operational issues.
- What would happen to my servers in the unlikely event of a building fire?
Sure your building has a sprinkler system, but water and servers don't mix. A proper gas-based fire suppression system, present in most outsourced data centres, extinguishes fires while allowing servers to continue functioning.
- What critical business systems would be jeopardized if my building's power goes out? How long can I afford to have them down?
A reputable outsourced data centre provider has designed into its facility multiple layers of power redundancy in the event of any size power outage. Implementation of UPS and generator back-up systems ensures your servers are always running regardless of the length of the outage.
- How do I deal with redundant network access to my systems? (ICT systems housed at a business's office facility typically deal with the issue of how to ensure that those who need to access the data or systems can get to it regardless of network connectivity issues. This is typically solved by introducing multiple redundant data communications or internet access links, which can get very costly, very quickly.)
Systems housed at an outsourced data centre benefit from a multi-homed Internet infrastructure. Most data centres have multiple fibre-based Internet connections with diverse Internet providers, ensuring fast and reliable connectivity to your servers.
- I'm going to be processing financial transactions online and have been told that I need to be PCI compliant and SAS70 / CICA5970 certified. How can I deal with this simply and quickly?
Gaining full compliance and certification in your own server room or data centre can be quite difficult and costly. Finding partners and data centre providers who are already compliant and certified can help alleviate some of the burden of compliance from your organization.
The solution is simple
If you are starting to deal with some of these challenges today, or can already see them on the horizon, the solution can be a simple one. Talk to a business colleague you know who has made the decision to go with an outsourced data centre provider and get some recommendations on how they made their decision. We also invite you to contact us and we will be happy to discuss how our outsourced Data Centre and Server Colocation services can help you keep up with the growing demands on your ICT infrastructure.