HOW TO CHOOSE AN EXTERNAL SERVICE PROVIDER FOR IT SOLUTIONS?
The number of companies that choose to locate their servers and digital information with professional service providers grows as grows the number of service providers and the range of services offered in Latvia and all around the world. How to avoid confusion amidst the sheer number of offers and choose the one most suited to your needs? What would be the best course of action, if your enterprise has one or several servers, or even an entire set of various servers used to store data important to your business, for example, documents, data bases, emails, and process it using business software?
Only large enterprises can afford to maintain a quality server room or a data center, since it requires technologies and expertise that often is expensive and ineffective to maintain by an enterprise. A data center requires a stable electrical source, cooling installations, telecommunications, fire safety system and a number of other technological support systems to guarantee the availability of your information. Security matters are important as well – guards, an alarm system, video surveillance etc. All processes related to the data center need to be considered from the technological point of view as well as from the point of view of safety to ensure quality maintenance and management and prevent a loss or damage to information, including unauthorised access. These things are beyond the capabilities of many enterprises, and thus they would endanger significantly their information keeping their servers in inadequate conditions.
In many instances the question, where would my data or servers be the safest, should be answered from a wider perspective not only from the point of view of their physical location. Often a more advantageous and convenient solution is the choice of software cloud services (English: SaaS – Software-as-a-Service), for example, Office 365, which provides all that most companies require – storage and processing of documents, email and other communication tools, along with a number of other useful functions.
However, if you already have servers, on which you store your information and software, cannot transfer them to SaaS solutions yet completely due to various reasons, and you have come to the notion that you are unable to provide the necessary conditions for them at the company’s premises, there are two alternatives. One solution is to transfer these servers to an infrastructure service provider (IaaS – Infrastructure-as-a-Service). In that case your servers will be virtualized and placed within the secure infrastructure of the service provider. Usually it is done, when your servers have come to the end of their operational life and should be exchanged anyway. If they are still serviceable, the other solution is to rent a server space or server cabinets and place them physically in a data center.
When you choose a data center provider, you should consider several aspects. First you should consider the data center as a physical location and a set of technologies. Secondly, processes related to the data center. A data center must be located on suitable premises protected from any external influences, the server room must be fireproof and it cannot have a direct access from the outside. Backup systems must be in place for all significant technologies – several power supply lines, a diesel generator, several independent cooling systems, connections for data transfer and Internet connections from several service providers. From the point of view of processes it is hard to evaluate a service provider’s compliance with them, therefore one can rely on independent auditors’ reports, for example, ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certificate, ISO 27001 Safety Management System Safety Certificates. For enterprises in the field of finance compliance with PCI-DSS standard is important.
CDN and Data Center Product Manager