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Data Centres: Marketing claims won't convince customers, security and service are what matters

Alex Rabbetts | May 8, 2015
Customers want service, not PUE and Tier claims.

Almost every week there is another story about a security breach of some form or another.

Some drunken MP left a laptop on a train, some idiot in a Government department posted a CD with everyone's National Insurance number on it and it got lost, hackers leaked the passwords of several thousand users of a 'cloud' provider, security guards in a data centre were asked to sign for the removal as thieves stole their core routers. Customers need to be safe in the knowledge that processes and procedures are robust enough to protect against any breach. It is surprising how many data centres lack these kinds of basics.

There are some data centres where it takes hours to get in, even when you're expected. It might take 30 minutes to get through the front door, but if you want to get in just nip around the back and use the loading bay; there isn't anyone there and you can get to wherever you like in the building. Processes should be robust and effective to protect customers' data and equipment, but should be smooth and seamless to enable ease of access when authorised. Security of data is paramount to most organisations and yet some data centres are only paying lip service to it, preferring, instead, to talk about what 'Tier' they claim to be or how low their PUE is - immeasurable and unchallengeable and much easier to talk about!

Service, too, is notoriously poor across the industry. Many, ashamedly, take the view that once the customer has signed a contract they are locked into it for a number of years. Even when it expires, it will be too difficult or expensive to move. That may have been true once, but it certainly isn't any more. It seems that the majority of data centre providers have jumped on the 'cloud' bandwagon, with few having any knowledge of what they are claiming as 'cloud services'. What they have also failed to understand is that unless they start to recognise the need to provide good service, the cloud is likely to be their nemesis.

Cloud can mean many things to many marketing departments, but what it definitely means is that a customer can move more easily between providers. Using a cloud platform enables customers to migrate data, and possibly applications, away from one data centre and into another. We would never advocate using the cloud alone as a place to store important or sensitive data, (remember the hackers who leaked the passwords of several thousand cloud customers!), using it to migrate from one platform or facility to another is probably a good reason for its use.


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