Outsourcing your data infrastructure has many positive aspects; from greater flexibility to lower costs, to better data security management, and even the reduction in workload of your internal IT resources.
Moving from owning your own data centre to outsourcing one allows you to take advantage of economies of scale and have a flexible storage space available as needed. By relying on a competent and experienced service provider, business continuity will be guaranteed, while problems related to data security and regulatory compliance will be avoided.
With these advantages, it's not difficult to see why data centre outsourcing has become a popular alternative for organisations. But how does outsourcing actually occur? There are three main phases. Let's go through them one by one.
1. Strategic planning
As with all major corporate changes, a medium to long-term strategy is required. When thinking of outsourcing your data centre, the first question to be asked will be, what will be the role of the external data center? Will it be the only infrastructure or will it be working in parallel with data collection centres that are still operated by the company?
Keeping your computing centre up and running can be a necessity for many, or it can simply be a way to intelligently tackle a transition period, fostering a more positive approach to change for all company resources.
If at the outset, the transformation is more radical, it will then be necessary to manage the integration of the two data sources, making sure that they are interoperable enough to support your business activities. However, you can also decide to keep the most critical data within the company, to avoid the migration process.
2. Choose a service provider
You have already decided to outsource your data center. Now comes the difficult part: choosing an outsourcing service provider.
There are many factors to be taken into consideration. First, it’s advisable to inquire about the market, understand the competitive standards, and technological and environmental best practices.
Secondly, each company must be evaluated individually, doing due diligence and finding out about the experiences of its customers, thereby getting a feel of its level of competence and professionalism.
Last but not least, the technical characteristics of the storage spaces made available should be analyzed in depth. What is its certification level according to the four-level classification system developed by the Uptime Institute? Is the data center carrier-neutral? How are security risks managed? Is it certified in accordance with the legislation on personal data protection? The suitability of the location of the infrastructure should also be considered.
The suitability of the host country will be determined by the level of socio-political risk, economic conditions, the presence of qualified human resources and much more. Its geography will also have an impact on the costs of management and on the quality of the service. Partners, or other customers of the provider company, are also to be considered. In fact, synergies and collaborations could be established.
3. Migration plan
After due diligence has been carried out, as described in the previous paragraph, you’ll come out with your choice of your supplier. The next question is: how to transfer data to the rented storage space?
You should remember that many companies have made significant investments to build their own computing centre and the costs of migration is a barrier to outsourcing.
But don’t worry. If you’re lucky, it will be the same provider company that will offer migration support services. Otherwise, there’s always the possibility of contacting a third external operator.
In the end, it is better to be aware of the challenges during a data migration. The main ones are ensuring business continuity, storing mission-critical data and preventing security breaches.
As you can see, great efforts of coordination and specialized skills are needed to succeed in your migration plan.
You can always decide to keep your data collection centre as it is, but you will lose access to the many benefits provided by outsourcing. However, if you decide to radically change your IT infrastructure, you’ll need to be ready to tackle at least these three main phases:
- Plan your strategy and define the role of your external data center.
- Choose the service provider accurately and intelligently.
- Be aware and manage the risks during the migration of your data, ensuring the continuity of your business activities.