You could argue that nothing matters more to your business’s stability and success than the data it works with every day. Ninety-three percent of businesses that suffer extended downtime following catastrophic data loss declare bankruptcy within the following 12 months, while 43 percent of businesses that have no way of recovering their lost data go out of business. Additionally, as your business grows, your data demands may exceed your facility’s storage capacity.
For these reasons, off-site data storage and management has become increasingly popular — but even this convenient approach can prove highly inconvenient if you go about it wrong. Here are some points to consider when selecting an off-site data setup for your organization.
Web Hosting Service Levels
One size does not fit all in the world of off-site data hosting solutions. You’ll find that you have several hosting options to choose from, including:
Shared hosting: In this scenario, you share a data partition with other clients on your provider’s server. This approach represents a highly affordable option for smaller, leaner businesses that don’t (yet) have massive data demands. But the sharing of bandwidth can cause unpredictable performance that may prove cumbersome for larger, busier organizations.
VPS: A VPS, or virtual private server, reserves a chunk of space on the remote server exclusively for your company. If you can afford this relatively pricey solution, you’ll find that it offers more stability and customization options than the shared hosting model.
Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting servers store your data across multiple servers in various locations, securing “always-on” performance and the safety of your data even if one of the servers should happen to fail. But since your access to the system depends entirely on your internet connection, you may still run into bottlenecks or downtime unless your network has some sort of built-in redundancy in your online “pipes,” such as the use of multiple connectivity providers.
Handing your precious data over to a remote location doesn’t guarantee its safety. After all, a natural disaster or fatal accident could just as easily strike that facility as your own. That’s why you must do your due diligence when shopping for data centers. Ask your prospective providers what measures they take to safeguard their servers and buildings against disaster. These safeguards may include everything from backup power and fireproofing strategies to earthquake, water line and gas line protection. Make sure your prospective data centers also have plans in place for coping with hacking attacks, security glitches and other digital emergencies.
Certain industries must adhere to rigid compliance standards regarding the security and privacy of the data they use or share. No matter how closely your own facility obeys these compliance standards, you could still get into serious trouble if the off-site data center you choose does not follow suit. If possible, engage an independent auditor to determine whether your prospective data centers conform to the standards of your industry or profession. These standards may include:
- HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
- SSAE-16 (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements no. 16)
- 21 CFR parts 11, 210, 211, and 820 (for the pharmaceutical industry)
Take these considerations to heart in your search for the ideal off-site data setup for your organization. With any luck, you’ll reap all the powerful benefits of such an arrangement — while experiencing none of the potential pitfalls.