There are many reasons location matters when building a data center or choosing a web host/data center provider—don’t overlook the importance of a low crime rate. Data centers, regardless of how secure they may be, are not invincible. Vandals and burglars can target data centers, knowing they’re brimming with very costly hardware. Top of the line servers can easily cost $200,000 and large data centers will have multiple options. Plus, servers are relatively easy to carry out and sell on the black market. Once a data center has been breached, it’s not very difficult to find the costliest of goods. How many other $200,000 pieces of equipment are easy to locate within a building, simple to carry and are in such high demand across multiple sectors?
Of course, connectivity is also key, which is why the biggest data centers are tucked away in rural areas. A savvy data center shopper will look for a data center in a moderately sized location and within a region known for low crime rates. Utah is ranked as the eighth safest city in the US. With just under three million residents state-wide, Utah has one of the smallest income gaps between poor and rich in the US, which is a strong indicator of a safe state. Less than 200 violent crimes happen every year, which is often a predictor of non-violent crimes. However, unlike “safer states” like Montana, Utah also has enough tech-savvy professionals and connectivity to give data center shoppers the performance they deserve (and demand) in a data center. Too much geographic disparity isn’t good in this industry, either.
Putting Safety First
Specifically, St. George, Logan, Ogden-Clearfield and Salt Lake City’s Provo-Orem and the surrounding areas are some of the safest cities in the entire country. Law Street released an April study based on the FBI Crime Report and used metro statistical data to rank the Top 10 Safest metros in the western area. In total, four Utah metro areas made the top list for safety. It’s no surprise that California topped the list for the most dangerous states, even with regions like Silicon Valley boasting some of the most well-known tech industry giants.
There were only 12 reports of robbery per 100,000 people in the Washington County region, which during the analysis included almost 148,000 residents. The FBI defined “metro areas” as an area that has an “urban core” with at least 50,000 residents, as well as nearby areas that have complementary and integrated economic and social inputs. In the SLC area, the FBI reports a total of 1,296 cases of burglary, 8,784 cases of property crime and 81 cases of larceny on average per year. This is far below the national average of like-sized metro areas, and translates to a relatively safe environment for businesses and commercial property—including data centers. However, having a business slightly away from the core of downtown can enhance security even more.
No area is completely crime-free and there are certainly incidents that go unreported. However, there can also be businesses and commercial space that are crime free. Data centers go above and beyond in terms of security, with motion-detection cameras, around the clock security personnel and state of the art measures taken to protect not just the hardware but also the data stored within the data center. Doubling up security by choosing one of the safest regions in the country with the best in security measures is a surefire way to provide clients with the protection and peace of mind they deserve.
Compared to other metro areas, overall crime has been decreasing even more since 2003 with no sign of slowing down. City data reports that, compared to the US average, Salt Lake City boasts half the amount of property crimes and about 25 percent less violent crimes. There are far less than half the amount of thefts, and that’s remained true for 15 years. While arson and larceny are already relatively low in Salt Lake City, it’s still been on a steady decline since 2000. There are more full-time law enforcement officers in Salt Lake City compared to the state’s average, and combining police officers with on-site security personnel can dramatically improve a business’ security measures.
Don’t forget to consider overall safety and crime rates when choosing a data center provider. It might not seem paramount right now, but there’s no reason to have a future “I wish” moment when security facts are at your fingertips.