11th February 2016
Growing a business takes a huge amount of resource and effort. All that hard work can be completely undermined by the assumption that your in-house IT infrastructure will take care of itself.
Think about it. You’re working incredibly hard to grow your bottom line and to do that, you’re relying on IT.
Your website, emails, marketing automation, personnel and customer data, invoicing, CRM and any number of other platforms are getting busier by the day.
While all that is whirring away, you might glance anxiously at your server room and think:
- Is my network robust enough to carry this increased data load?
- Who is looking after physical security and disaster mitigation?
- What happens if systems crash when there’s nobody here?
- How are we managing atmospheric control in the server room?
Ignoring these critical elements of data infrastructure maintenance is a recipe for disaster all on its own. Factor in threats of fire, flood or power loss and things could turn really nasty.
The trouble is, you’re so busy, it’s difficult to find time to sit and think about whether you need to change your IT situation.
So we’ve made it easy for you.
If your business is growing and you identify with four or more points below, it’s time to think about colocation.
1. A growing business needs more people – that means more space.
Your business is growing. You need more people but you don’t want the expense and upheaval of moving offices just yet. How can you get more out of your current premises?
You might think you’re saving costs by having your own server room, but that space could be costing you more than metres squared in rent.
How many more revenue-generating desks could you put in that space, if your network hardware was somewhere else? What about the other costs involved, such as power supply and cooling technologies?
Keeping your servers in-house is, in many ways, a false economy. Do some research and calculate the value of a server room versus the revenue extra work space could bring.
Still think that office rack is saving you money?
2. Plagued by fears of downtime?
When Amazon.com went down for half an hour in 2013, it lost an estimated $66,240 per minute.
For small to medium businesses downtime can be equally devastating, particularly when we look at the long-term impact in can have on growth.
In order to see your business through critical periods, it’s vital to keep downtime to a minimum. Using a data centre with sophisticated management and monitoring plus advanced power and cooling back-ups is your best option to keep your systems up - and your business running.
3. Need to rely on predictable costs and savings?
Growth is expensive. In order to spread your business’ wings, you will probably have to take on more staff, train them, buy more machines to facilitate their work and swallow some lost billable hours, at the very least.
The last thing you want is for your IT infrastructure to present you with unforeseen bills.
A good data centre may offer set pricing or cost spreading deals so that you can manage your budget prudently and leanly while you’re expanding. Their experts can also advise you on the best equipment for your needs, so that you avoid unnecessary expense or false economy.
4. Concerned about the threat of security breaches?
It can be costly mistake for smaller business to think their size makes them less of a target to thieves. You might be small, but your servers are valuable and the data stored may refer to companies much larger than yours.
Physical security is a profession in itself. Are you sure your server room is safe? How would you inform your customers that their data had been stolen along with your servers? How would you go about rebuilding your company’s resulting damaged reputation?
Losing hardware to thieves is painful enough financially. Losing data can prove fatal. The data you collect and store is your business. Securing it is absolutely essential.
Look for a data centre that is certified to ISO27001:2013 (Information Security Management) standards. CCTV, ID cards and 24-hour staff presence are also good indicators of well managed security.
5. Desperate for more server space to underpin your growth?
You’re reading this because your business is growing and you’re going to need more servers. Take a look back at reason 1: can you afford to lose another desk to more racks?
Enabling and scaling all the systems your business needs to facilitate long-term growth is what good IT infrastructure is all about. Colocation allows you to use a space that has been created purely to house the equipment you need.
Shop around and look for a data centre that offers everything from quarter rack space to private pods and you should be good to grow.
6. Worried about potential inner city disruption?
It might be prudent for your offices to be located in a city centre. Your clients may be concentrated there, for instance, making it untenable to be based anywhere else. But do you really need to have your data there too? What if there is a tube strike? Or a flood? Or the threat of a terrorist attack?
There are many reasons a city might be temporarily paralysed. Enabling a mobile workforce, therefore, is becoming a necessary option in today’s unpredictable urban environment.
But your workforce is only as mobile as the infrastructure on which it relies. You can tell your staff to work from home if necessary. But if your servers are stuck in the middle of a grid-locked city and something happens that stops them working, how will you get to them?
Running your networks from a data centre located outside any major city is becoming an increasingly sensible option. You will have the benefit of the centre’s robust disaster mitigation policy protecting your equipment from fire, flood or power loss. And even if your central London office is effected by unforeseen disruption your data, safely stored elsewhere, won’t be.
7. Need reassurance that your servers are being looked after by experts?
The more data you store on your servers, the safer you need to feel they are. You really don’t need to be kept awake at night by fears of problems arising when nobody skilled is around to fix them.
It’s common now for data centres to employ technical support workers. A small, select number of data centres provide 24/7, trained support teams that work in-house, exclusively. During your research and selection process, ask what kind of support each data centre offers – service can vary a lot so understand what you’ll be getting.
Don’t underestimate the power of peace of mind. You are steering a business through a period of growth which takes mental agility and energy. Losing sleep over your increasingly inadequate server room at the office is not going to help. Likewise, choose a data centre that offers the level of support you need to feel secure.
When the signs point to a great colocation partner
Colocation is a great business enabler. There are many things to consider and you should take time to make sure you find the right data centre for you.
If you recognise four or more of these signs as relevant to you and your business, it’s definitely time to start looking for your ideal colocation partner.
You’ll know when you’ve found the right one because your system performance will seem effortless and you wouldn’t want to entrust your data to anyone else.