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6 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Data Center Provider

The Headlines, Data Security, Network Security, NOC, DRaaS, Disaster Recovery, Data Center Provider, Data Center, Redundancy, NGFW, Next-Generation Firewall, Network Operations Center

Data center, or co-location, server racks inside bank vault as a data security and protection concept

Exceptional security is non-negotiable when choosing a data center or co-location provider, because finding out too late that your provider doesn’t offer the level of protection you need can be costly.

In order to know which providers will match your expectations and requirements for data safety, you’ll need to ask the right questions from the start.

These six questions will help you determine how each potential data center provider protects data and whether or not they’re a good fit for your data security needs.

1. How Do You Keep Your Data Center Physically and Virtually Secure?

This may seem like an obvious question, but many are surprised to find that their colocation provider does not offer sufficient datacenter security. They might store your business’s data, but anything beyond that isn’t necessarily covered in the contract. True data security takes investment and expertise, and some providers take the bare-bones approach. Be sure to ask about both the virtual and physical security of each provider.

Advanced security options might include:

  • Registration
  • I.D. badges
  • Biometric access
  • In-house security staff
  • Layered security zones
  • Camera and security systems to monitor the data center
Man and woman standing and talking in a colocation, or datacenter, facility next to an open server cabinet

2. Is Your Network Operations Center Always-on and Always-Available with Excellent Customer Service?

Data centers and their infrastructure are highly electromechanical, meaning they will eventually fail—it’s only a matter of when. And when that does happen, you’ll want a Network Operations Center (NOC) with a skilled support staff that’s always-on and always at your service (24/7/365) to solve any problems that arise.

When you reach out for help, will you feel like a top priority or be put on hold for hours? Before you sign any contracts, find out if this provider offers responsive customer service and can be trusted with your critical data.

3. Are You Certified and Compliant?

Find out if your provider is SSAE-16 SOC2 certified. This stands for Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements and Service Organization Control. It represents the most reputable, up-to-date certification method required by most companies when considering co-location from a service provider.

Ensure that the datacenter providers you are considering, including their services and employees, meet or exceed the audits and certifications required by industry standards. Also check that those certifications have been met each of the last several years.

Compliance is the critical piece of every recovery environment. Depending on your business’s unique needs, check if your colocation provider is compliant with HIPAA, PCI, SOX, and FISC. Keep in mind that the audit standards your company needs to comply with will be different from your co-location provider.

White and blue digital lock image concept for a firewall activated in a data center server room

4. Do You Offer Next-Generation Firewall?

In today’s age of cyber attacks, you need defense against the growing number of application attacks taking place on layers 4-7 of the OSI network stack. Next-generation firewall (NGFW) helps prevent those attacks by integrating three key assets: enterprise firewall capabilities, intrusion prevention (IPS), and stateful packet inspection.

Even if you don’t want this level of protection now, you may need it in the future. Choose a provider that can grow with you, offering flexibility and options.

5. What is Your Disaster Recovery Solution?

Once again, even if you don’t think you need a disaster recovery option now, you may want the ability to add one later. Without a solid DR plan, your data center may not be able to recover your data in a timely manner, if at all, when disaster strikes. With ransomware attacks increasing, the unpredictability of mother nature, and the potential for human error, disaster is a very real threat to your data and the livelihood of your business.

Choose a provider with a solid DR solution. One excellent option is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), which is the hosting and replication of your servers by a provider to enable failover in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe. It not only recovers lost data in the event of disaster, but infrastructure as well, meaning your business can recover from downtime with lightning speed.

6. Does Your Data Center Have Redundant Power and Sufficient Cooling?

Redundant power and cooling is a must for data centers. Redundant power means having an "A" connection and a "B" connection, each connected to separate UPS systems for total power redundancy in a data center. Equipment in a datacenter can get hot, so efficient equipment for cooling and fire suppression is also a necessity.

An important part of this is asking how often do you perform load performance testing?” Seeing how much load a generator can handle—before something goes wrong—is critical, and should be done often enough that there is confidence in its ability to handle power.

A clipboard checklist with green check marks on a yellow background

Choose a Provider With the Best in Data Security

By asking these six questions, it will become clear whether a potential data center provider meets your data security needs. Want a provider you know you can trust? LightBound has you covered:

  • Our Core DataCenters are among the safest in the nation, including advanced security protocols and redundant power and cooling
  • Our always-on, always-available Network Operations Center is like Fort Knox for your data
  • You can put names to faces of our expert employees, and we are here for you 24/7/365
  • We offer the best in data security and disaster recovery solutions, including NGFW and DRaaS
  • We are compliant with industry standards and are SSAE-16 SOC2 certified
  • We care about your data and take security seriously

Want to learn more about what to look for in a co-location provider or how your current security stacks up? Sign up now for a completely free, no-obligation, one-hour tech assessment with LightBound! Our experts will answer any questions you have about data security, assess your current situation, and share how you can grow moving forward.

Click here for your Free Consultation

June 28, 2018 / by Dane Dittemore