The heart of an organization begins with a data center. Therefore, knowing and understanding what questions to ask when vetting data center providers is essential. The goal is to not only look at what your immediate business needs are but make sure the provider has the ability to customize and scale solutions to what your needs will be in the future.
Top 9 Questions to Ask When Vetting a Data Center Provider
1. Where are your data centers located?
The physical location of your server’s data center will affect the speed and latency of your operations. If your server is far from end-users, be that employees or customers, information and data must travel further. Interconnected edge data centers like Netrality are located near dense user populations, giving organizations the power to leverage data-intense technologies and provide seamless, quick delivery of business services. By connecting at edge data centers, businesses have direct access to multiple disparate long-haul and metro carriers such as private or public clouds. These directly connect to network carriers, cloud providers, and content delivery networks to ensure the fastest, most reliable data relay.
2. Are your data centers redundant? What is your uptime rate across your portfolio? How often do you complete or test your backup generators for functionality and load? What strategies and processes are in place in case of a power failure?
Your data center provider should have redundancy built into its infrastructure. A redundant data center duplicates components to ensure uptime. This architecture includes an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), cooling systems, and backup generators. Netrality tests for functionality weekly and conducts load tests annually. The data center industry’s standard for uptime is 99.999%. In 2022, all our data centers achieved 100% uptime.
3. What certifications do your data centers hold? How often do you undergo audits to ensure compliance?
Organizations using a data center to support their infrastructure and computing requirements must put compliance at the forefront of their list of ‘must haves.’ Data center certifications and audits ensure facilities are efficient in processes and adhere to regulations. Netrality’s data centers uphold strict standards to mitigate risks and ensure the security of our customer’s data. Our facilities are SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type 2 and SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type 2 compliant. SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type 2 analyzes an organization’s financial reporting controls, and SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type 2 reports on security, availability, and processing integrity. All our facilities are HIPPA and PCI-compliant. Additionally, it is recommended that data centers undergo semi-annual or annual audits to evaluate the effectiveness of controls, such as security, emergency, or environmental hazards.
4. How secure is your data center? What security systems do you have across your portfolio, both physical and virtual?
Security is among the most critical factors in evaluating a data center provider. Physical security ensures the safety of your employees, tenants, and customers in a facility. It includes facial recognition and enhanced video systems that allow analytics to flag suspicious activity in the data center and around the facility. Virtual security is vital to protect your customers’ data. Netrality partners with cybersecurity experts who will help your business build a security-first culture to protect your brand, enable business continuity, and reduce risk.
5. How interconnected are your data centers? What does your connectivity profile look like in each of your locations?
Across Netrality’s portfolio, we have over 610 unique providers, averaging 68 service providers per location. Our interconnected data center’s robust ecosystem includes carriers, cloud providers, content delivery networks, content service providers, and managed service providers that will help deliver the best overall experience to your organization’s employees and customers.
6. What are your key differentiators? How do you stand out from your competitors?
We own and operate our data centers. Many data centers are leasing their space within a facility. When leases expire, the data center provider may choose not to renew their lease, which burdens the customer to move their business. Partnering with a provider that owns and operates their data center provides seamless communication, immediate response, and action — getting things done quickly, efficiently, with flexibility and stability. Netrality customers have peace of mind knowing that their relationship with us will be for the long term.
7. What amenities, resources, and tools do you offer your data center customers?
Our data centers across our portfolio offer many amenities, like event spaces, conference rooms, tech lounges with kitchens, game rooms, shipping and receiving capabilities, and secure on-site parking. In addition, our customer portal provides easy access and visibility into our solutions with a step-by-step ticket overview encompassing cross-connect orders, remote hands support, logistics, access requests, and expansion of services.
8. What is your average customer tenure, customer’s company size, and footprint?
Customer tenure, company size, and footprint are essential questions to ask a provider. A customer’s tenure provides insight into the data centers’ stability, communications, and customer service — how they treat, accommodate, and cater to their customers’ needs, growth, and more. Netrality’s experts, including our on-site property management, 24-hour engineering, and customer experience team, play a pivotal role in fostering our relationships throughout the customer life cycle with regular check-ins and quarterly business reviews.
Customer company size range conversations must occur, so you understand the specific provider’s scope and capabilities. Small and large companies may need to scale up or down, but each approval process may differ. Smaller companies have a faster close rate since approvals don’t need to go through as many departments or hands for approval. In comparison, larger companies must get the green light from various teams before proceeding. The goal is to retain a provider capable of pivoting if needed to accommodate and provide customized options for their customers.
Netrality is always looking to expand our footprint by acquiring strategically located, core interconnection data centers that power latency-sensitive businesses, increase network resiliency, and ensure always-on access to mission-critical applications. We are the largest privately held owner-operator of core interconnection facilities in the United States and are well-capitalized with a long-term investment from Macquarie Asset Management (MAM).
9. What level of support do you provide customers, specifically regarding the staff at your data centers?
Our data centers have a full-time on-site management team, 24-hour access to our engineering dept., and a customer experience team to support our clients. Netrality Data Centers offers power, cooling, storage, and connectivity via a robust ecosystem of IT service providers. As discussed previously, we are unique in many ways. Still, one factor that stands out is our team of experts bringing together decades of industry experience to guide and support our customers.
The Netrality Advantage
Vetting a data center provider may feel overwhelming, but knowing the questions and responses will inevitably make the journey less daunting and more empowering. Netrality’s portfolio of data centers and robust ecosystem of providers give our customers ultra-low latency, reliability, scalability, security, and compliance, allowing businesses to remain competitive in today’s technologically advanced landscape. Download our Data Center Cheat Sheet to guide you in the process. Contact us to learn more about the Netrality Advantage!