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How to choose a Data Centre

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There isn’t an organisation on the planet that hasn’t shipped out some portion of its infrastructure to a data centre or thought about it. While the business case has become easier to make, it still demands a lot of attention for anyone involved in the procurement process because you will be entrusting a core piece of your business to a third party.

With data centre services ranging from co-location to more complex Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service requirements, the checklist of needs will vary. However, there are general requirements that you should demand from every data centre.

Here are three of them:

1. Commercial flexibility and transparency

This is all about trust. The data centre and its team of IT professionals effectively become an extension of your business so it’s imperative that everyone’s working from the same page.  The only certainty in IT is change, yet many data centres are inflexible and overly proscriptive about the services they provide. Break from the norm and you could get hit with unexpected charges and slow implementation of changes.

BT fosters trust by being transparent. A steady stream of new clients has come to us because they are fed up with existing providers charging too much for too little. When simple requests reveal hidden costs it undermines the relationship and they become understandably cautious about making changes. We work in partnership with clients so when their requirements change, the services we provide also shift in line with what they need, irrespective of what was agreed at the outset.

2. Carrier neutrality and interconnects with multiple global provider.

The whole point of a data centre is to centralise IT operations in one location and to provide a meeting place for carriers and customers to connect.  For our communications service provider customers that means having the option to quickly and easily peer with customers, local networks, international carriers and cloud providers. Therefore, the data centre must be carrier neutral and play host to many other networks.

BT customers can peer with over 20 local and global carriers through our data centre, as well as INEX and leading cloud services companies.  And if you choose to use our own BT global network, we provide international connectivity to over 170 countries and data centre services in 48 locations worldwide, including Belfast and various sites in the UK.

3. Certifications for an increasingly regulated world

Next year’s arrival of GDPR is only the latest in a long line of regulatory changes that put more onus on organisations to be compliant. By choosing the right data centre you have an opportunity to significantly improve your governance and regulatory standing.

BT was one of the first data centres in Ireland to be ISO 270001 certified, the best practice standard for ISMS (Information Security Management System). In our case it’s helped evolve a security-first culture that’s now embedded in our day-to-day operations.

We’re also PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data security Standard) certified as a Level 1 Service Provider, a standard that guarantees adequate protection of cardholder data. For IT service management we have ISO 20000, ensuring best practice service provision and on-going service improvements.

Finally, some tips on questions to ask when looking for a data centre. First of all, take the tour and while you’re doing it talk to the employees; get a feel for the on-site competencies because you’ll be trusting parts of your business to them.

Ask to talk to other customers too. If they are not prepared to give you any names, walk away. BT has a long track record of successful delivery and seamless in-life service in data centre services and has many reference customers who will happily share their experiences. It’s one of our strongest cards, having a brand and reputation that people trust.

Find out more about BT data centre services at our web site. 

Fiona Hughes


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