Colocation Data Centers and the Remote Work Transition: Expert Advice
By: Blair Felter on April 9, 2021
Demand for virtual work environments has grown alongside the widespread availability of cloud computing and high-speed, low latency internet connections. While many businesses had begun exploration of the viability of a digital office prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, the paradigm shift from centralized, in-person workspaces to a dispersed and remote contingency fully took hold.
In Austin, Texas, a central hub for business growth, concerns about the digital office experience and infrastructure bubbled to the surface; our teams encountered questions about how to enable this new paradigm, how to move forward and whether to move back to in-house models.
Those who reached out had strong instincts: Having the proper physical infrastructure in place is vital to ensuring your remote employees are able to be just as productive at home versus in the office. Colocation data centers can help facilitate remote work, minimize business bottlenecks, and ensure you're able to focus on the most pressing issues facing your company.
Because of the clear need for information about digital office success, the Austin Tech Council partnered with a panel of experts from vXchnge for an open forum. Here, and in the associated webinar, we'll share the benefits of colocation for a fully remote workforce, and how colocation data centers can help businesses capitalize on those benefits.
Remote Workplace: From Necessity to Amenity
In today’s world, digital transformation is something most organizations strive to achieve. With the Digital Age now in full swing, the way in which everyday business is conducted is coming under increased scrutiny. This has pushed industry leaders to consider innovative — sometimes radical — changes to how they do business.
The pandemic required businesses to adopt a remote work environment. But many leaders quickly discovered that a remote workforce not only helped slow the spread of COVID-19, but also helped cut costs, increase productivity, and improve morale.
A recent survey from Gartner suggests that 80% of company leaders plan to allow their employees to work part-time remotely after the pandemic. Additionally, 47% of leaders will allow their employees to work from home full-time.
So, what benefits of colocation did these leaders discover?
Global Workplace Analytics reports that organizations with a remote workforce save on average $11,000 per employee, per year. On top of that, employees report saving over $5,000 per year when working from home. From commuting into the office to buying daily lunches, employees have enjoyed both the financial and personal aspects of the home office. Since employees are already paying for their personal phones and internet at home, the company also negates the need to pay for these services in the office.
For companies looking to improve their eco-friendly practices, remote work environments aid in that mission. Taking cars off the road and reducing the carbon footprint not only exemplifies a company’s dedication to taking the climate change crisis seriously, but also saves employees time and money that they’re thankful to have back.
While managing a remote workforce may seem like a daunting task, colocation data centers can help do some of the heavy lifting and ensure your digital office is running as smoothly as possible.
New data from IWG has further defined the benefits of offering a remote work environment. In their Global Workspace survey, which gathered the opinions of more than 15,000 business people across over 100 nations, IWG found that 85% of businesses have seen an increase in productivity since switching to flexible workspace policies. Additionally, 77% of remote workers report being more productive due to fewer distractions.
In many cases, the switch to a remote workforce has been a win-win for both businesses and their employees. Employees are enjoying the flexibility and freedom that comes with working from home, and are in turn helping their companies exceed business expectations and accomplish more. With the help of a colocation data center provider, such as vXchnge, you can ensure the switch to a remote work environment is simple, streamlined, and cost-effective for your business.
Not only are remote employees being more productive at home versus in the office, but studies indicate they’re happier as well. A report from ZenBusiness found that, out of 1,035 remote workers surveyed, 60% have felt their mental health improve since starting to work from home. 80% of these workers have experienced less job stress, and 44% claimed to be engaging in more exercise.
As a business, ensuring the well-being and happiness of your employees is a major priority. Seeing as remote employees are more satisfied with their work-life balance, it’s no wonder that many companies are gauging whether they have the infrastructure in place to make the switch.
In a traditional office setting, your company’s geographical location greatly limits the talent you’re able to bring in. But offering flexible work environments allows your business to acquire the best possible talent, regardless of where they’re stationed. In fact, companies that don’t offer flexible work environments may be missing out on ideal candidates for openings. In IWG’s Global Workspace survey, 80% of U.S. workers said they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working.
Having the onboarding processes and technological means to accommodate remote workers isn’t easy for every business. It takes careful planning and a considerable amount of time and energy to get it right. But once you’ve developed an effective system for hiring remote talent and evolving your infrastructure to support them, your business will be better off for it.
How to Realize the Benefits of Colocation Services
Remote work environments are part of the new normal for modern-day businesses. But making that shift doesn’t have to be so difficult for your company. As we mentioned, many businesses have realized the benefits and are ready to try the digital office, but struggling to get out of the physical office that hosts their IT infrastructure today.
That's where colocation comes into play.
There are eight distinct ways colocation can help:
Direct on-ramp cloud access
Zero-trust network access
Efficient, redundant power and cooling allow you to control costs over time and ensure business continuity (more on this later). On-site staff, security and scalability allow you to gain some peace of mind and refocus your efforts on the business.
Direct On-Ramp Cloud Access
A lot of organizations are undergoing digital transformation that includes a cloud presence, where cloud costs are tied up in egress. But in the colocation space, we already have access to these direct on-ramps, such as AWS or Azure, to help reduce the egress costs.
Recent blackouts in Austin have made it clear that uptime is critical for business success. Colocation services are considered essential business; reliance on the grid isn't part of the effort. Your remote workforce can't afford to lose access to the network, and even if you augment with cloud, you won't have a 100% uptime guarantee. The right colocation partner can offer you that. Productivity stays up.
Look to those partners who allow you to control access to your data remotely — to both employees and vendors. If vendors need access at a moment's notice, securely, a colocation data partner that enables remote access can be a boon for your business.
While power outages and natural disasters aren't a guarantee, your service and business continuity needs to be. The right colocation partner will offer a disaster recovery solution as part of their bundle or packages.
Colocation can be thought of as compliance as a service. Even if you don't require certain compliance requirements, your partner should adhere to the compliance and regulatory practices that matter most.
Additionally, if you ever need to go through an audit, your ability to download compliance reports is vital to your productivity and success. Look for a partner that enables this capability if you want your remote workforce to thrive.
As one of the most common attacks and a common cause of data breaches, DDoS attacks can hobble your business. Redundancy applies to data loss, too: you may never understand the exact impact of an attack on your business, even as you work through recovery. That's why a colocation data center can help: they can offer data protections and thorough review that you may not have on-site, or especially as part of your remote workforce model.
Zero-Trust Network Access
When employees are connecting from distributed offices, they might be using unpatched devices with major vulnerabilities. You can't give hackers the keys to the kingdom just because your users are working from home. So, a colocation data partner is a must.
Your partner should be able to route traffic through zero-trust security systems that prevent employees or users from connecting directly to colocated access. Even if a remote employees' credentials are compromised, zero-trust rules and systems ensure they can't jump laterally through the network.
Colocation and Your Business: Q&A
Ultimately, the colocation data center model facilitates remote work by offloading the space, power, and cooling responsibilities that are normally managed on-site. Plus, opting for colocation services that largely handle your data center management needs enables you to focus on developing the core solutions your customers depend on.
Instead of leaning on on-premise infrastructure solutions or the cloud, consider colocation services that provide flexibility, agility, and reliability when it comes to your infrastructure.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of colocation from the experts in the field, view our webinar today. In this open forum, you'll hear expert answers from:
Ernest Sampera, CMO at vXchnge
Jonathan Santo, vXchnge client business team
Patrick Kelly, vXchnge client business team
Anthony Chobanian, vXchnge client business team
Cliff Heidel, solutions architect at vXchnge
We answer questions about the rapid expansion of colocation as more remote offices emerged, how colocation protects customer brands, what kinds of companies can benefit from colocation, and much more.
Ready to learn from the best in the field and the Austin Tech Council?
About Blair Felter
As the Marketing Director at vXchnge, Blair is responsible for managing every aspect of the growth marketing objective and inbound strategy to grow the brand. Her passion is to find the topics that generate the most conversations.