Cloud infrastructure models are increasingly recognized for their ability to reduce costs and accelerate time to market. In a podcast from McKinsey, Irina Starikova, a partner with the research organization, explained the cloud infrastructure market is now valued at more than $200 billion.
The widespread availability of cloud infrastructure solutions demonstrates the technology’s potential, but it can also leave organizations scrambling to determine which solution is right for them. To add to this complexity, cloud infrastructure systems are increasingly being integrated into traditional data center outsourcing models, helping companies align their varied IT strategies into a comprehensive hosting model. Gartner found 90 percent of organizations will leverage hybridized infrastructure models by 2020.
A cloud infrastructure strategy is only as good as the data center that hosts it. Organizations looking to take advantage of the cloud often overlook the importance of the actual data center facility and how that will impact the performance of their solution once it’s deployed.
To this end, the three most important data center issues to explore are:
Location matters – a lot. Location plays a huge role when it comes to accessing data and applications through any network. Physical distance creates latency and poor routing between data centers can lead to major performance problems down the line. Data centers that are intelligently located relative to an organization’s user groups can increase network performance, improve security, and provide an all around better user experience.
Beyond raw performance, data centers must also have redundant access to multiple network providers and interconnects to provide proper connectivity and reliability. Subscribing to the cloud means being dependent on the connections between data centers and the internet. Data centers with poor connectivity ultimately put service continuity and availability at risk.
Logical security is, of course, essential in any technology plan. A well engineered cloud solution will feature configurations that clearly segregates the virtual machines, the storage, and is properly managed and monitored to identify any malicious behavior against the environment.
What often gets overlooked in the security discussion, however, is the physical access to the cloud. A good data center will have strict access controls in place at multiple levels throughout the facility that prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to the facility systems and infrastructure that is used to host your applications and data. When evaluating the physical security of any data center, consider the following:
- 24/7 onsite security personnel
- CCTV camera systems, and retention policy
- Biometric access
- Photo badge access
- Man trap into the data center suites
- Elevator authentication
- Rack or cabinet level locks
Many industry bodies will regulate data center infrastructure and facility models to ensure they comply with best practices or regulatory standards governing various sectors. This can include:
- Formal certifications for facilities regarding the mission-critical infrastructure
- Strict guidelines around access control to ensure compliance with data privacy laws, such as Privacy Shield, HIPAA, PCI DSS and others
- Environmental standards that create controls around emissions and energy consumption
Businesses must make IT and infrastructure decisions with a clear understanding of the types of regulations their data and systems are beholden to and select a vendor accordingly.
Meeting and maintaining compliance requirements can be a shared responsibility. It’s important to understand what areas the business is responsible for, what the provider is responsible for, and what areas are shared.
Within these regulatory considerations, organizations must also evaluate the redundancy and availability of the power and cooling systems, as any kind of outage can lead to data loss, which can create as much regulatory risk as a data breach. Uptime, access control, and security are always a consideration. Don’t let an insufficient data center put your organization at risk of regulatory fines.
Finding the Right Data Center for Your Cloud
Not all data centers are created equal. Performance, reliability, security, and connectivity capabilities can vary substantially from one facility to the next. Organizations that neglect the data center when evaluating cloud solutions and providers can set themselves up for unexpected problems down the line.
Lume can help businesses avoid these issues. We have a global footprint of diverse and constantly growing edge data center locations. These data centers are top-tier, compliance audited, premium facilities that have been vetted and enable us to offer a diverse portfolio of infrastructure solutions.
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