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5 Colocation Myths for the Healthcare Industry—Debunked

By: Blair Felter on August 19, 2020

Colocation data center services have become an increasingly common solution for many organizations in recent years. For the healthcare industry, however, there are several persistent colocation myths that make it difficult for companies to make the transition from their existing on-premises data solutions.

Here are some of the most common healthcare colocation myths and why they don’t hold up under closer examination.

5 Healthcare Colocation Myths

Myth 1: Colocation is Not Secure.

Data security is understandably a huge factor for healthcare organizations. As organizations strive for increased interoperability, they have also taken steps to shore up their cybersecurity measures to keep patient information protected. Given that some of the highest-profile healthcare data breaches (such as Anthem in 2016 and Quest Diagnostics/LabCorp in 2018) occurred due to security failure on the part of third-party vendors, it’s understandable that many organizations are hesitant to outsource their IT infrastructure to a colocation facility.

Fact: Colocation Data Centers Provide Greater Data Security.

In reality, colocation data centers are often far more secure than on-premises or cloud-based infrastructure. It begins with physical and logical security measures that protect physical equipment from unauthorized access. Since data centers are staffed by experienced and well-trained IT personnel, they are less susceptible to insider threats. Furthermore, access control is much easier to manage in a dedicated colocation facility. When it comes to cyberattacks, colocation services like vXchnge’s vX\defend can offer substantial protection against dangerous DDoS attacks while also providing access to outstanding managed service providers who can implement best-in-class security solutions that meet the specific needs of healthcare organizations.

Myth 2: Colocation is No Different From On-Prem.

There is a tendency to view all data centers as being more or less the same. Fundamentally, a data center is a place to store servers and other IT equipment. As long as a facility has the proper power and cooling in place, one solution may not seem like it would be too different from another. If an on-premises solution has been in place for a long period of time, it may even be difficult to imagine how another data center might be better.

Fact: Colocation Data Centers Offer Much Greater Efficiency and Performance.

Modern colocation providers, however, are often leaps and bounds ahead of private, on-premises data solutions. Their cutting-edge design gives them far better efficiency and performance when it comes to power and cooling. They also typically offer a much wider range of connectivity options since they must cater to a variety of customers across multiple industries. Many organizations that have been relying on the same technology solution for many years may not realize just how far data center infrastructure has come over the last decade. Migrating to a colocation provider can give them immediate access to a state-of-the-art facility without having to make the hefty capital investment to build their own.

Myth 3: Colocation Fails to Meet Compliance Needs.

Compliance is a major area of concern for every healthcare organization. Every company that handles protected health information in any capacity must have the controls and policies in place to meet the security guidelines laid out in the federal government’s HIPAA/HITECH regulations. Healthcare organizations are justifiably concerned that migrating their technology stack to a vendor who isn’t overly familiar with the demands of HIPAA and HITECH could expose them to significant risk.

Fact: Colocation Services Prioritize Compliance.

In fact, however, most colocation providers are more concerned with these compliance standards than many healthcare companies! That’s because data centers are constantly focused on implementing a broad range of security controls that protect all kinds of customer data. Many healthcare organizations are already struggling to meet HIPAA/HITECH guidelines within their existing on-prem environments. By migrating to a colocation facility, they often gain much more compliance support from data center professionals who have extensive experience when it comes to designing and implementing data security controls. A reputable colocation data center will already be operating a HIPAA/HITECH compliant infrastructure, which makes it possible for healthcare organizations to build their systems upon a strong foundation.

Myth 4: Colocation is Not Reliable Enough

Downtime is another serious concern for any healthcare provider. A few moments of downtime in a hospital, for instance, could literally put lives at risk. But even when it comes to non-essential systems, losing access to data for any period of time could cost an organization dearly in terms of lost revenue, missed opportunities, and damaged reputation. It’s understandable, then, that a healthcare provider may be hesitant to entrust anyone else with its infrastructure.

Fact: Colocation Data Centers Treat Reliability as a Competitive Advantage

Colocation providers know that uptime reliability is critically important to their customers. That’s why they invest heavily in redundant infrastructure to ensure that key services and data remain available when customers need them most. Data centers back up their reliability claims with service level agreements (SLAs) that promise a certain percentage of uptime each month. vXchnge data centers, for instance, feature 100% uptime SLAs. Since colocation environments are typically much more efficient in terms of power and cooling performance, they tend to deliver greater levels of reliability than outdated, inefficient on-prem solutions.

Myth 5: Colocation Cannot Support Future Growth

Some healthcare providers may worry that a colocation facility can’t possibly accommodate their growing needs as well as their dedicated on-prem solution. After all, an in-house data solution is theoretically catered to the exact specifications of an organization and can afford to cater directly to its needs without having to tend to any other customers.

Fact: Colocation Services Are Extremely Flexible

In most cases, however, on-prem solutions are designed to meet an organization’s existing needs as cost-effectively as possible. They may be able to handle current capacity, but when expanded infrastructure is needed in a few years, the organization may find itself having to build an entirely new solution. Colocation data centers, however, have the power, cooling, and connectivity infrastructure in place to accommodate a great deal of growth. Even better, colo facilities assume the cost of upgrading that infrastructure while their customers only need to worry about their equipment. Buying a few new servers to expand capacity is much more palatable to a healthcare company than buying the servers and having to install more power and cooling equipment.

Unlock the Potential of Healthcare Colocation with vXchnge

With multiple data centers positioned in key growth markets across the country, vXchnge is well-situation to deliver high-quality colocation services to organizations throughout the healthcare industry. Our dedication to reliability and transparency has helped healthcare companies move beyond the myths associated with colocation and transition to next-generation data center services that make a true digital transformation possible.

That’s why healthcare institutions like Houston Methodist Hospital have turned to us to help them carry out their mission to provide better quality care. To learn how we helped one of Texas’s most respected hospitals transform their infrastructure and find out what we can do for your healthcare organization, talk to one of our colocation experts today.

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