Choosing Suppliers

Top secret: Choosing a data centre when security is the priority

5 min read

21 November 2017

Special projects journalist

A key component of the services provided by WorkPlaceLive is its data centre – and the decision had to be made whether to host this in-house or look for a provider.

For any business looking after client information, data centre security is a top priority – with breaches causing long-term reputation damage.

WorkPlaceLive started life in 1996 as an IT support company, and began selling cloud and hosted IT such as VoIP services in 2006.

The business helps clients simplify IT processes, and produces services tailored to individual needs. Because of the constantly-evolving nature of IT, the business has to work hard to keep pace and move with the times.

“As we have grown, we were able to add more services. In our business it is important to stay ahead of the curve from a technology perspective and at the same time remember that we are predominantly about service and not about technology,” said CEO, Joseph Blass.

Choosing a data centre provider

A key component of the services provided by WorkPlaceLive is its data centre – and the decision had to be made whether to host this in-house or look for a provider. While there were many factors to consider, eventually the call was made to take on an external service.

“The choice was whether to reinvent the wheel and potentially suffer the early business pitfalls of building our own data centre or to identify and select a trusted, established provider.

“Each option has pros and cons but for our circumstances, the confidence we could have in using a facility that is tried and tested tipped the balance,” Blass explained.

Initially, WorkPlaceLive considered a few basic criteria that were “must haves”, such as security. Once the options had been narrowed down, the final decision was made based on service: is the data centre accommodating more space was needed for a time? Are the turnaround times satisfactory?

Getting to grips with security

Security was the number one priority for WorkPlaceLive when choosing a data centre provider, because it is where the business hosts its customers’ data.
“Our entire business relies on trust. Our customers trust us to ensure that their data is secure and safe from any form of attack or loss of data,” explained Blass.

“Therefore, by having all the relevant security procedures in place (and being able to demonstrate those by certifications) we give customers reassurance that security is important to us and that we ensure our providers meet those same high standards.”

In addition, the business made sure the chosen provider could provide both online and physical security.

“We ensured that the data centre could provide both online and physical security. The building is guarded and staffed 24/7, has secure and monitored access and the facility has all the necessary alarms to inform of a breach of security. On the online security side, the provider meets all of the requirements for ISO 27001,” said Blass.

However, the data centre provider chosen does not have access to WorkPlaceLive’s data – and if something were to happen to the building itself, the business has its data backed up in a remote location. When data security is a top priority, it is better safe than sorry.

For Blass, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to data centre providers, and his advice to other businesses varies based on individual requirements:

“My key advice would be to think carefully about the balance between your business objectives and the solutions available to achieve these objectives. For some their business objectives will be achieved by moving their IT to a data centre of their own design and build, which they have the skill set to support.

“For others, it will mean looking for a best of breed solution provided by a supplier with the experience, knowledge, presence and skillset to produce a resilient and robust data centre based platform, meeting all of the organisational needs now and in the future.”