Nowadays, when it’s so easy to access powerful IT hardware, software and IT service providers' IT solutions customized to your specific needs combining virtual, traditional and software-defined environments, the importance of reliability grows even more. Can you trust your IT system? Can you trust your service provider? Which one will be your soft pillow in the worst case scenario?
Choosing a data center can be very struggling when you need to entrust all your data and systems to a third party. Comparing data centers starts with gathering information about their geographic locations, network coverage, security level, experience, range of solutions offered and continue with many other details that can be very important to your business and trust. Service level agreements (SLA) are data centers’ promise to you about services they will ensure in terms as agreed. Effective SLAs can increase your level of trust, offer cost savings in case of a downtime and ensure fast disaster recovery.
Seconds Matter - Reaction Time SLA
While most data centers highlight around the clock 24/7 support, one of the less prominent but not less important aspect has been forgotten – reaction time. 24/7 support means that you will be able to contact support, but does not mean that data center specialists will react to your request instantly. Although, IT providers promise to coupe with your issue as soon as possible in accordance with the best effort SLA, in case of critical business needs, this may not satisfy you.
To be honest, if you are not sure how long you will have to wait for a response from support of your IT service provider or you are used to wait for it for several days, consideration of migration could be an option. The data center market has grown rapidly and tight competition has resulted in increase of service quality and beneficial conditions. Why not advantage of them?
In the age when IT is a foundation for many business processes and it supports most of businesses around the world, taking care of continuous IT operations is just as important as taking care of your core business activities. By agreeing on exact reaction time, you will definitely be able to put a guarantee check in your pocket. Assess your business risks and don’t save on security! Data center operator or service provider that can offer to be on line with you in 30 min, 1h, 4h or other agreed time, can save your business when seconds matter. Especially when your own IT specialists cannot solve the issue remotely. In case of a system failure, cyber-attack or other unpredictable mishap, reaction time SLA will give you a confidence that IT experts will turn to your request much faster no matter of the importance of your request.
Guaranteed Recovery Time for Your Business Continuity - RTO
Guaranteed reaction time of support is great, but guaranteed recovery time is a lifesaver. While reaction time basically guarantees the time in which the support will start to process your request or in some cases ensures basic recovery if you use virtual infrastructure, guaranteed recovery time or RTO (Recovery Time Objective) guarantees full recovery of your IT system in agreed time. Understanding how complex and heavy IT systems can be and how fast data can be produced, how can a service provider guarantee recovery time? And can you trust them?
Of course, recovery time depends on IT solutions you use and that’s the reason most often data center service providers offer more possible recovery types, so you can choose if you want recovery only for your hardware without operating system and data or your business demands for fast and full recovery including all your systems and data. Regardless of reasons, when the downtime occurs total recovery can definitely save your business from unexpected and unwanted expenses. Usually IT providers determine additional conditions to ensure full recovery, like – recovery tests, administration, backup infrastructure, data backup and others. Conditions vary depending on whether you use cloud solutions, rent a hardware or virtual server, but thanks to recovery tests, IT providers can be very confident about the time they need to recover your system relieving you of stress about possible downtimes.
From a business perspective – RTO cannot be effective without effective disaster recovery plan. Nowadays, with so many data types, systems and applications in a single company, finding the most appropriate hierarchy of importance can be very challenging for any enterprise. Despite this complexity, you should consider which business applications are critical and which ones will not significantly affect your business in case of a downtime. Segmentation of critical applications will allow distributing IT resources and applications that are critical for your business operations and can cause business struggle and losses from those IT resources and applications that cannot cause critical impact on your business. Well thought out hierarchy of critical IT systems will let you save using disaster recovery your business really needs. Knowing your IT priorities from a disaster recovery point of view will help your IT service provider not only set-up specific and effective disaster recovery plan, but will also let create the whole IT system based on these priorities at the first place.
Basic Kit You Should Consider Looking For Reliable Data Center
Data center providers offer SLAs for full scope services – cloud solutions, managed services, server rental, rack rental, as well as colocation and SLA is considered as important criterion to supplement basic ones when choosing data center provider for IT outsourcing. It is designed to build stronger relationship between IT provider and end-user and it will ensure service level guarantee putting service provider’s interests in the same level as yours.
However, SLA is not the only factor that points to reliable data center. Four most important basic kit criteria that a reliable data center have to be able to promise are – availability, continuity, security and efficiency. These factors significantly differentiate a single server room from a data center you can trust. Reliable data centers have clear and transparent policies how they ensure these factors. All information about the data center size, used technologies, environment in a data center and what methods and systems they use to ensure redundancy and high security level are most often easy accessible. Don’t be afraid to ask! You should have a clear vision what are included in a basic service agreement and be able to compare these factors when choosing IT provider.
In addition to all this - data center compliance with internationally recognized standards will also help you understand whether you can entrust your business to the chosen IT provider. For example, a data center that has obtained ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO 22301 certificates will not only guarantee high information security management and protection and effective data center continuity & disaster recovery in case of emergency situations, but will also allow you to trust the data center's interest in maintaining these criteria in the future. And that is a strong booster when thinking about trust in a long time perspective.
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