4 Signs of a Good Data Center Company

by Jack Gesualdi, December 10th, 2014 in Data Center

As your business grows, sooner or later you will need to seek out a data center company to help you manage your data securely, effectively, and at a good price. But with so many data center companies offering their services, it can be hard to tell which ones will be good partners and which will drop the ball. Here are four signs of a good data center provider:data center company

  1. They don’t just dabble in disaster recovery. Although the name of the game is hosting your data center, a data center company’s main business really comes down to disaster recovery. Simply hosting and running the day to day demands of your network is a relatively simple job that can be handled by any IT team with the right equipment. A good data center company provides much more expertise than that—they will specifically configure your data center solutions so that your company can rapidly and smoothly recover data following a crisis. This involves not just backing everything up in a secure, redundant manner; it includes good protocols for effective, recent backups, and a system for restoring the most important data first.
  2. They understand the advantages of different data center solutions—and recommend the right ones. There are many different approaches data center companies can take. They may offer data center collocation, full data hosting, cloud based hosting, or a simple backup service. All too often, the options a data center recommends is based on what equipment and experience they have, rather than what is best for you as the client. Look for data hosting companies that can offer all of these and will speak about the strengths and weaknesses of each to help you determine the right choice for your specific needs.
  3. They use reliable equipment. Providers will talk endlessly about features of their data center like its cooling plan, its physical security and its cyber defenses. Those factors are important, but you should also look under the hood. What machines do they use? How recent are they? Were they bought new or secondhand? If they sell them off when upgrading, how do they expunge your data?
  4. They offer fluid, scalable pricing. The only constant in a business’s data needs is that nothing is constant. You might only want collocation today but choose to move to the cloud tomorrow; you might have a high usage period this season but need dramatically less server space in a month. Your data center should offer flexible, scalable plans that change with your business.

Distributed Systems Services, Inc. offers all of the above and more. Contact Distributed Systems Services, Inc. for more information at 1.877.289.0395.

When It Comes to Data, What Is a “Disaster”?

by Jack Gesualdi, December 9th, 2014 in Disaster Recovery

Every business leader knows that data center disaster recovery plans are important. But often, the kind of “disaster” you should be preparing against is left vague. The word itself calls to mind storms and tsunamis, but the most common disasters—at least as far as data protection goes—are manmade. Here are four types of disasters that could hit your company:disaster

A Cyber Attack
The most feared kind of disaster in the business world today is that caused by outsiders with malicious intent—also known as hackers. Hackers may initiate a cyber attack against your business for a multitude of reasons. It could be at the behest of a competitor, who seeks to either steal your proprietary data or simply derail your operation. It could be in response to an unpopular decision or news story about your company. Or it could be a simple act of digital vandalism, one which can end up costing you millions. Just this week, Sony was hit by a hack attack with the goal of extorting money. Most data center disaster recovery plans are specifically aimed to insulate a company against data loss due to attacks.

An Internal Mistake

While we all picture hackers hunched over tables full of computers assailing our corporate databases, the truth is that most cases of data breaches and data loss come from within. That doesn’t necessarily mean someone on your staff is working for the other team; the majority of data loss issues are caused by honest (but disastrous) mistakes. This can range from a single employee making a bad high-level decision that affects whole systems, to repetition of small mistakes over thousands of customer records, to viruses brought on innocently by bad browsing habits.

Technical Failure

While it’s rare if you use Automatic Test Pattern Generation (ATPG), well-maintained machines from reputable name brands, technical failures do happen. A server can fail or a key hard disk can go bad and with it, all the information it contains. Efforts to try to salvage data from corrupted systems are expensive and have a limited success rate. It’s better to be backed up in the first place.

A Traditional Disaster

While perhaps the least common cause of data loss, disasters do happen. From hurricanes and flooding to fires, earthquakes, and tornadoes, a disaster can take out hundreds of crucial machines at once. Disasters can also destroy their remains (preventing data recovery efforts) or the very buildings that hold them. When a natural disaster happens, there is no substitute for a good data center disaster recovery plan.

Do you have a reliable disaster recovery plan in place? Contact Distributed Systems Services, Inc. to learn more at 1.877.289.0395.

 

6 Data Center Solutions You Need to Know About

by Jack Gesualdi, October 27th, 2014 in Data Center

Does data matter to your business? No matter what your industry, the answer is yes. Businesses rely on data for everything from communication and creative collaboration to maintaining customer records. But that also means you need to be able to store, protect, backup, and access your data—and every business’s needs are different. That’s why data center solutions need to be different, too. These days, data centers don’t just offer server space; they offer a lot more. Here are six data center solutions that you need to know about:

data center solutions concept

Image courtesy of watcharakunat FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.  Cloud computing – Cloud computing is an excellent data center solution for companies who want fast, flexible service that also saves them money. Cloud-based data services give staff in all locations (as well as on-the-go) access to shared company resources in real-time, while reducing information storage needs. More companies are moving toward secure cloud solutions.

2.  Hosting – Hosting means that you outsource your data center to an offsite location handled by your data center company. This not only frees up your internal IT staff from overseeing your network and information security, it also eliminates the need to buy and maintain servers,  worry about power or cooling, and invest in state-of-the-art facilities.

3.  Server virtualization – Server virtualization can allow you to do more with less. Virtual machines give you the security and efficiency of a dedicated machine at a fraction of the cost. It’s the perfect solution for companies with lower or flexible server needs.

4.  Managed backup services – Every business needs to back up its information securely, but this process must be managed to ensure effectiveness. The ideal backup solution provides an ongoing, automated backup with no duplicated files and nothing unintentionally left out—as well as a clear and fast process for recovering that data when needed. A managed backup can also help you clean up and streamline your fileservers and data storage so that the entire system is unified and efficient across your company.

5.  Disaster recovery – Going beyond a simple backup, disaster recovery planning requires a methodical, highly secure and offsite solution for data protection. A proper disaster recovery plan will not only back up your data, but prepare your business to transition smoothly after a major disaster or technical failure, with minimal interruption to your operations.

6.  IT Outsourcing – Sometimes it’s not only equipment you need, but expertise. Data center solutions increasingly include highly-trained professional IT staff on a contract basis for both short and long-term needs.

Does your business use any of these data solutions?

8 Ways Data Center Hosting Benefits Your Company

by Jack Gesualdi, October 22nd, 2014 in Hosting
Image of data center concept.

Image courtesy of jannoon028 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For most businesses, technology is both a cost and a necessity. Companies of all sizes rely on computers, servers, Internet connection and data security in order to deliver for their customers. Very small businesses are generally using consumer technology similar to that used in many households, while the largest corporations have dedicated server farms and data centers of their own. However, most businesses fall in between those two extremes, and for them a data center hosting company is a must.

Data center hosting companies are firms that provide and manage all of the network technology a business needs to thrive: servers, data backup, and the logistics involved in keeping those systems running. By contracting a hosting company to handle this infrastructure, a business is freed up to put their time, attention, and internal IT resources to work on the projects that actually make them money.

Generally, data center hosting is recommended for mid-sized companies, but “mid-sized” has a broader definition than you may think. If your business has even a single server of its own, it’s a good idea to look at data center services that may save you money and help prevent potential problems with maintenance, technology upgrades, and information security.

Benefits of data center hosting include the following:

  • The option to outsource your data center needs to a secure, high-tech facility overseen by the best professionals in the business.
  • Alternately, skilled data center management can be provided to oversee your own equipment and facilities on-site. Servers, racks, and customized equipment can be supplied.
  • Data centers require ample, constant power and a well-planned cooling scheme. Your data center hosts will provide these systems and make sure that everything runs smoothly.
  • Redundant systems and backups to help protect your data and keep your business operating at all times.
  • Physical security of your data center.
  • Information security to protect sensitive data from corporate sabotage and hackers.
  • Monitoring, logging, and detailed reports to ensure total transparency.
  • Disaster recovery services.

Plans for data center hosting are incredibly flexible and tailored to each individual client. Often, even very large companies will rely on hosted data centers because of the money they save, and for small and medium businesses they are a must.

Of course, these are just some of the benefits that data center hosting services provide. What do you expect from your data center service provider?

How Managed Hosting Delivers Flexibility

by Jack Gesualdi, October 6th, 2014 in Hosting

These days, more businesses are turning to managed hosting for their data and networking needs. Managed hosting offers an alternative to building and maintaining your own servers and network infrastructure, effectively outsourcing one of the most touchy and complex aspects of your office to professionals. The choice to use managed hosting has long been heralded for many benefits including cost-effectiveness and security advantages. However, one of the biggest benefits of a managed hosting contract is the one people don’t seem to talk as much about: flexibility.

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Managed hosting offers the ultimate in scalability and customization. Generally, managed hosting plans are fitted to your company’s specifications and additional services can be added on easily as you grow. Yet, the flexibility offered by managed hosting goes far beyond that, and includes advantages such as the following:

  • Bandwidth that matches your needs. Connectivity and bandwidth are vital resources in today’s business environment, but there is no need to pay for speed you don’t need or bandwidth you won’t use. Most managed hosting suppliers will start by looking at your needs in terms of security and performance and then match your hosting plan to your requirements.
  • Virtual machines. While dedicated physical servers are available through managed hosting, hosting managers can also offer the use of virtual machines that can dramatically save on costs. With a virtual server, one powerful machine effectively acts as a number of different servers for different clients. They keep all data strictly segregated and secure, but share the cost over a number of companies.
  • No need to invest in hardware. Too many executives have found themselves tearing out their hair as their expensive new network infrastructures rapidly became obsolete—or simply insufficient for their growing business needs. Buying technology is almost always a guessing game, but with managed hosting you don’t have to play it.
  • Custom engineering. With a managed hosting service you get the talent and expertise of a cutting-edge IT workshop without having to expand your own staff. Experienced data architects will engineer your infrastructure and ensure that on-site implementation goes smoothly.
  • Monitoring & optimization. A managed hosting provider can continuously optimize your network for your needs. Based on real-time usage data, they can see whether you are underutilizing your network or bumping up against its boundaries, and recommend changes where appropriate.

Flexibility is just one of the benefits of managed hosting. Is your company considering making the switch?

What Can Good Data Center Hosting Do for You?

by Jack Gesualdi, October 2nd, 2014 in Data Center, Hosting

Data center hosting companies are becoming trusted partners to many savvy businesses across all industries. Data hosts offer your business the chance to free itself from the many obstacles associated with self-hosting a complex data network. That means you can concentrate on your main objective – running your business. Here are some of the ways that a good data center hosting company can help you:

Reduce your Costs

Managing your own data infrastructure is costly and often has low ROI compared to outsourcing it. The costs of in-house data hosting include purchasing the physical machines (which may not continue to suit your needs long-term), and hiring full-time IT staff, even if you do not have the technology needs to justify it. Third-party data center hosting relieves you of these costs and, since data hosts can leverage a large infrastructure and staff, the cost of hosting is often much less than that of managing your network in-house.

Engineer Custom Solutions

Image of woman in data center server room.

One of the greatest advantages of data center hosting is the flexibility it offers, which amounts to a customized solution that’s constantly adapting to your business’s changing needs. When you manage your data infrastructure in-house, you essentially commit yourself for years to a configuration that may become less valuable in the future. You also have to try to predict future growth so that you don’t over- or underspend. However, a data center host can evaluate your needs and design a solution that fits all of your requirements, with the option to easily expand or change it with time.

Provide Innovative Solutions to your Technology Needs

One of the advantages of working with experts in data center hosting is that you get to draw on their extensive knowledge of the industry, and their experience working with companies of all sizes, in many fields. Frequently, when a customer is at their wit’s end because of a stubborn technology problem, they can turn to their data hosting company for a ready-made solution with simple implementation.

Protect your Business from Disaster

This is perhaps the biggest source of security that data center hosting provides. Your data is the backbone of your business, no matter what your industry. If a disaster affects your data storage, it could set your business back for months or even years. By working with a trusted data center, you can rest assured that your entire network is backed up nearly-instantaneously and that, even in the event of a disaster, you can quickly and seamlessly recover your data.

Have you looked at data center hosting options?