For many companies, regardless of their industry, data is their most important commodity. The World Economic Forum reports that by 2025, the amount of data generated each day is expected to reach 463 exabytes globally, a strong indication that the amount of data being shared over sprawling business networks is not showing signs of slowing down. Due to the large volumes of data businesses are sharing on a daily basis, it’s more important than ever for these companies to properly protect their data and ensure it’s readily accessible.
As the middlemen between businesses and their end-users, colocation data centers are responsible for ensuring the sensitive data they’re handling is safe and secure. A single data breach can be catastrophic for a data center and the businesses that depend on it, which is why data centers need to adhere to regulatory compliance standards in order to protect their customers.
To ensure the data your end users rely on is in good hands, consider these five ways to improve data center compliance.
#1: Align Your Teams
While your IT department is likely in charge of managing compliance processes and procedures, data center compliance is a company-wide task that requires the alignment of all relevant teams. In order to ensure your data center is able to properly protect your data, you first need to ensure that your internal teams understand the importance of data center compliance and what their role is in ensuring compliance standards are met.
Take some time to meet with senior leadership from all relevant departments and explain how your partnership with your data center will function, and what role each department will play in guaranteeing the safe and secure storage of company data. Getting everyone on the same page in terms of what is expected of employees will minimize the risk of a potential data breach down the road.
#2: Understand Your Compliance Needs
Now that your internal teams are aligned, it’s time to consider what compliance standards your business needs to adhere to. Your compliance standards will depend on the nature of your business and the industry you work in.
For example, if your company handles any healthcare data, you need to partner with a data center that is HIPAA certified, and can demonstrate compliance with HIPAA/HITECH regulations that ensure patient privacy. If you handle e-commerce data, PCI DSS 3.2 compliance standards should be a primary focus for your business. These standards help ensure the proper protection of financial data transmitted through credit card transactions.
Before you start to consider which data center provider to partner with, you first need to establish the compliance requirements and standards your business needs. Knowing which certificates and attestations a data center should possess in order to best serve your business will ensure your data center provider is able to meet the necessary compliance standards.
#3: Partner with the Right Data Center Provider
As mentioned above, your data center provider needs to be able to prove its commitment to compliance standards relevant to your business. But beyond ensuring they have the proper certifications and attestations in place, you also need to assess the data center’s ability to implement adequate security measures at large. Partner with an experienced data center that has a proven track record of customer success and satisfaction.
Data centers will not shy away from making promises about their compliance capabilities, but it’s worth taking the time to assess whether or not the data center in question can live up to their promises.
While a data center might boast about its 99.9% uptime guarantee, that number equates to roughly an hour of downtime during the year. One hour of downtime could have serious financial implications for your business, so make sure to thoroughly review and discuss a data center’s security measures and compliance standards to ensure they’re the best option for your business.
#4: Know the Data Center Audit Schedule
Most data centers will undergo a series of audits throughout the year to ensure they’re complying with compliance standards and are able to show proof of any attestations. Not only do these audits give your business peace of mind regarding the data center’s commitment to compliance standards, but they also shed light on the operations of the facility itself. The audit will reveal metrics regarding power usage, cooling efficiency, and additional security measures that will further dictate the quality of your data center.
Knowing when these audits occur and how your data center prepares for audits is important information for your business. Data centers that maintain audit readiness year-round demonstrate their consistent commitment to compliance standards, while data centers that scramble to prepare just days before the audit may not be as trustworthy when it comes to handling your data.
Your data center should also make you aware in advance of any downtime you can expect while audits are taking place. Establishing a transparent, open partnership with your data center that’s backed by audit performances will make it easier to trust your data center with your data.
#5: Utilize Intelligent Tools
Regular communication with your data center is one way to keep tabs on the safety and status of your data assets, but AI tools can also provide you with valuable insights into the performance of your data assets and cabinets. Consider implementing infrastructure monitoring software that enables you to take better control of your data assets and have unparalleled visibility into your data center. Intelligent tools can make you aware of any issues with your data assets, and will provide greater insights into how your data center is performing.
Make Compliance a Priority for Your Business
As more and more headlines pop up every day regarding high-profile data breaches around the globe, now is the time to ensure you're taking data compliance and security seriously. Hold your data center to the compliance standards you require in order to reassure your customers and employees that the data you're managing is in trusting hands.
About Alan Seal
Alan Seal is the VP of Engineering at vXchnge. Alan is responsible for managing teams in IT support and infrastructure, app development, QA, and ERP business systems.