As your small business grows, your IT department follows suit. You may discover that finding a dedicated space for your servers and other devices may become difficult. If you've been considering colocation as an option for hosting your servers, firewalls, storage and other internet-related devices, the information in this article will help you understand how colocation can benefit your small business and what you need to consider when selecting a colocation center.
Why a Colocation Service is a Better Option than Putting Servers in Your Office
It may seem that a colocation service is better for larger businesses, but consider the following reasons that even a small business can benefit:
- Security. A colocation service can offer a level of security for your hardware and internet-related processes than your office. Colocation centers are designed to host expensive hardware for many businesses and offer around the clock security that includes camera surveillance and restricted access to the facility using biometrics and keypad entry systems.
- Bandwidth. Internet service, particularly service that includes large amounts of bandwidth can be very expensive and in can often be cost prohibitive for small businesses. Colocation centers offer large bandwidth pipes due to having multiple Internet Service Providers. More bandwidth for your business means faster internet speeds and increased capacity at a reduced cost.
- Scalability. If your goal is to grow your business, a colocation center has the capacity to grow with you. Colocation centers have the ability to increase the infrastructure of a growing business very quickly, usually within 24 hours. You will also benefit from the expertise provided by the colocation service.
- Cost. Overall cost may be the most important benefit for small businesses. Creating and maintaining your own data center is extremely expensive. Working with a colocation center means that you will have access to a level of service and features that you may not be able to afford on your own.
The Benefits of Using a Colocation Service
Using a colocation service will obviously reduce your stress by allowing you to rely on experts for your server needs and it can save you a great deal of money, but other key benefits include:
- You still own your hardware and software
- You retain complete control over your devices
- Your hardware will last longer because it will run at optimum performance in a controlled environment
- You will be able to expand and grow without requiring an investment of capital
- Your hardware will be monitored around the clock by engineers
- Fast, reliable and much less expensive bandwidth
- Power backups, including backup UPS systems and diesel generators
- No need to move servers if you move your office
- More efficient power and cooling
A colocation service gives you access to a highly controlled environment and staff that specializes in the maintenance of internet-related hardware. While using a single server in your office may be feasible in the short term, you also have to be concerned with possible problems with power, network connection, problems with hardware and software as well as problems like theft or property damage.
Tips for Choosing a Colocation Provider
Choosing a colocation service for your business is a big decision. Trusting your IT infrastructure to someone else in a different location might make you a little nervous. Before choosing a colocation center, consider the following:
- Location. You should visit the facility, consider how prone the area is to natural disasters like hurricanes, flooding or earthquakes and select a center that is as close to your office as possible.
- Flexibility. If you're planning to grow your business, you'll want to make sure that the data center you select can grow with you. Each colocation service offers different levels of service. Be sure to discuss your vision with them before making a decision.
- Reliability. Data centers measure reliability in terms of up-time. Only select a colocation service that has an up-time of 9s, which means that they are reliable 99.999% of the time. You will also need to consider things like staff certifications and how much of their support is on-site – rather than outsourced to another company.
- Financial stability. It may seem obvious that you should choose a service that seems financially stable. The key factor here is that you should choose a company that can meet your business needs for at least five years. To get a good picture of financial stability, research press releases, financial reporting and financial history, which are all available to the public.
Colocation services are becoming more popular every day. While many small businesses continue to maintain their servers in-house, a colocation center can offer small business a valuable service at a reasonable cost. Use the information in this article to help you find more about this topic and the data centers in your area and select the service that will best meet your business needs.