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The benefits of colocation
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The benefits of colocation 

Securing and cost-effectively managing this technology and data while keeping corporate growth in mind is vital. It’s easy to drown in the deluge of technology options and lose sight of the business raisons d’etre. Data services providers who offer management services can help with actual business growth, and objectively quantify and mitigate real-world risks.

Not all businesses keep their computing and data infrastructure within the data centers of third party “colocation” providers (or their clouds), opting instead to keep them in-house. While the reasons for this so-called DIY approach to server and data hosting are sometimes based on concerns like overarching and controversial data privacy laws, regulatory compliance, or the increasing number of data breaches, there are solutions and strategies to address each of those concerns. All of them are syntheses of technology and process, creating a data management strategy that marries technology (like secure connections and encryption), good process and objective, realistic risk assessment.

The risks and downsides of managing servers and data in-house are more often than not greater than entrusting it to a qualified third party. This is especially true for SMBs and enterprises. A full-spectrum data services provider who can both manage technology and enable clear and secure access to data alike can not just remove risks but help facilitate growth. Even large multinational institutions often choose to store (or “colocate”) at least part of their compute and data assets off-site. Risk, growth, and opportunity cost are drivers. Disaster preparedness in particular is a growing need, motivated by factors like increasingly volatile weather patterns, political factors, and data loss.

The less publicized risks and opportunities are the biggest reasons to consider managed colocation and cloud. Consider that realities like productivity losses due to duplicated files and effort, insecure data access, a lack of audits, and an absence of available backups during an outage, actually cost businesses more in total than the recent and much publicized online data breaches. Not securely enabling remote work forces can hinder growth. This is the unpublished reality.

It’s in the less published but more massive scenarios that end to end data services providers become necessary and relevant. These providers typically own their own data centers and assets (a one-stop shop, rather than further outsourcing it to someone else) and effectively manage and maintain secure access to the servers and data that keep your business running, all on highly redundant systems that leverage huge economies of scale. Some data services providers will even implement their own cloud solutions, passing on the benefits of scalability and convenience afforded by the cloud to their customers. Industry standard scalable systems also enable force process compliance, and centralized access creates portability of data, allowing (for example) mobile workforces to flourish and get out there.

It’s important to remember that implementing such redundant and highly scalable colocation and cloud systems in-house can be very expensive for anyone except large firms with a large volume of demand, dedicated technology divisions, and sizeable budgets. Managing a full technology stack takes a dedicated workforce and, more importantly, experience. Experienced providers won’t push products, and will take a patient problem-focused and context-specific approach.

Finally, security and privacy are very real concerns when it comes to trusting someone else with sensitive data, but there are technologies that can not only help, but also effectively corral workforces into complying with sensible and productive data handling processes. For example, collaboration software can be accessed via secured networks from a private cloud or simple colocated server, with individual accounts that are tracked. Users would no longer need to maintain multiple copies of files, and data leaks due to lost assets can almost be eliminated overnight. It would all run from centralized, redundant servers. The data can now be accessed and analysed by hosted big data tools, and so the possibilities of emerging trends and advantages start becoming very clear.

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