There have been a great deal of things we have talked about this series when it comes to what to look for in a hosting provider and data center. Obviously, the stuff like bandwidth throttling and content filtering, uptime, reliability, redundancy in physical and technological features, and product offerings have been covered to quite some extent, but there are other items that many people forget to look at in a hosting provider or data center until they are settled in, and moving would be difficult. In my time at a large hosting company and colocation center in Utah, I saw this quite a bit, to the point that the business decided to address some of these concerns beforehand and end up charging the clients in the future a bit more just to pay for them.
Lets look at one of the biggest reasons for being in a hosting facility in the first place: security. What is the physical security and technological security measures that have taken place? Are you at risk for financial information being stolen? Don’t think you are too big or too smart for this to happen under your nose, it happened to people like Jpmorgan and Target.
Does the facility have any compliance or certification with SAS70 or PCI standards or security certifications? Is it easy to walk into their facility? I am not advocating that the data center be built into a world war II bomb shelter, but I am suggesting that they have keyfob access, privately locked colocation cabinets, closed loop monitoring(preferably monitored in-house if possible), biometric access to data center areas, and extremely few people with access to dedicated server and hosted server rooms. Do they provide private cages? Do they have private colocation suites? These are perks that are actually something to consider, as your goal for your company is to grow it as large as possible. Eventually, you may need dedicated power, and security.
Are you a financial institution that stores credit card information on your servers? If so, you will likely need to be in a PCI compliant facility at the very least. This will ensure that you have a very low likelyhood of your data being stolen by an outside group with malicious intent. Also, who are the people that are allowed physical access to your server? Is anyone in the entire hosting company, down to the cleaning crew allowed to access your servers? Or is this limited to only the tech staff that is assigned your account?
Security in a data center is perhaps the paramount priority to any company that is considering colocation or web hosting. Make sure that your web hosting provider is ahead of the curve so that you can sleep well at night knowing that your servers are safe behind locked and secured doors.
Photo Credit- Flickr: lbhosting