Technically Speaking

The Official Bigstep Blog

What to look for in data centre location

2013 has been the year of data controversy. With the furore around PRISM in particular making headlines around the world, data has never been so topical and contentious. Is it really ok for internet firms to hand over consumer data to the US National Security Agency (NSA) and is this just the tip of the iceberg?

This has of course, made many organisations think even harder about where they store data and the location of their data centre. Bigstep discusses the top issues to be mindful of when choosing your next data centre location. 

Choosing your data centre location
When you are choosing a data centre location there many issues to factor in. What are the privacy laws like in that particular country? Can you retain control of the data? Is your mission-critical data going to be kept secure?

When we were planning our launch we were aware of the increasing importance of data security and knew that that each country has a different stance on privacy. That’s why with us, when you provision a dedicated machine you decide the exact location and the data is never moved without your explicit request.

But many cloud providers don’t give you a choice about location, so this is what you should be looking for when deciding where to have your data centre:

Proximity to your business
For some organisations it is vital to be within shouting distance of their data centre – for others it is a minor consideration. So if your equipment needs an upgrade or service and it is your responsibility to do this, then proximity will be a major factor in your choice. If you are happy to upgrade remotely or use partners for this then you have more flexibility. But if your over-arching requirement in your data centre location is for it to be within half an hour of your HQ, focus your search within that area.

A (natural) disaster zone?
Some parts of the world are more prone to extreme weather and natural disasters than others. Whilst you would expect any data centre provider to have taken this into account when choosing that area, if this is important to you then it certainly can’t hurt to check yourself.

Enough power to do the job
The overall ecosystem is also important. There needs to be plenty of power and connectivity, with fibre paths to and from the data centre. Ideally the facility should be carrier-neutral. If you are considering colocation then the ability to interconnect within your shared location is highly valued – what are the connectivity options in this particular data centre?

Physical security
Data security is top of many organisations’ agendas when selecting their data centre. Physical security can play a major role in this - how many security cameras does the location have and where are they placed? What is the system for visitors entering the building and is it staffed day and night? Ticking all these boxes can go a long way in providing reassurance about security.

There are many factors beyond location when choosing a data centre, but the concerns outlined above will all be important for a huge majority of organisations. This is even truer when it comes to cloud providers, who rarely give you any choice regarding data centre location, which is why we offer 100% transparency in data location. You choose where it is to be hosted and will never be moved without your express permission – is that true of your current provider?

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