How are data centers handling the surge in remote working?

By Fordhay

|News|Apr 2020

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Over the past few months, businesses across the globe have taken their work online. Where documents were once in cabinets, on your desk and saved to your computer storage, businesses have had to undertake some form of digital transformation in a short period of time. As millions of people have to now work remotely to protect their workforce from COVID-19, IT infrastructure and data centers have significantly increased their capacity. Online conferencing software, data storage and management tools are amongst the technologies that are now needed to conduct work effectively during this period.

A number of IT companies and data centers are also offering their tools to support hospitals, emergency services and public services to help continue their business-critical operations. With the increased workload these technologies have taken on, it begs the question of how they can handle this immense capacity. Your business has to be able to rely on data centers and IT infrastructure to ensure your business-critical information remains secure and efficient.

What is a data center?

For many businesses, data centers aren’t a new concept. A data center is the most critical part of building your virtual workplace; it’s the element where all of your data, information, processes and technology are controlled. They allow your employees, regardless of geographic location, to access all business information digitally.

The virtual network connects all your people and technology processes to create one integrated platform for your business. You can tailor your data center to whatever your business needs; whether it’s simple file creation, editing and sharing, or it could be big data storage and customer relationship management  (CRM). The need for this type of working is critical now more than ever as businesses are quickly trying to find IT solutions that work for them.

Restricted access to colocation data centers

Businesses usually choose between colocation data centers, on-premise data centers or cloud-based services. Colocation (colo) requires your business to provide all the technological equipment and the colocation provider will store it in their physical data center along with the power, cooling, bandwidth and cables to integrate it together. The current problem with colocation data centers is that access to your hardware and technology has been restricted because of the pandemic.

As per the government’s regulations, providers aren’t allowing workers to access their employer’s data center to prevent exposure to the virus and maintain social distancing. For many businesses, this is proving detrimental as they must be able to access their technology to ensure they can work remotely. However, physical access isn’t necessary for all businesses to manage their data centers. If your colo provides it, you should have access to some online management tools that enable you to track cooling, security and networks remotely.

Demand for cloud-based computing

The number of businesses now needing access to data centers has spiked significantly. As some colocation data centers are struggling to meet this demand, they’re making the most of cloud-based computing and online infrastructure. Accessibility of cloud-hosted services has enabled businesses to outsource their IT to a reliable solution. Cloud services allow you to migrate your existing data to an online infrastructure without the need for ongoing maintenance or running costs. With software and programs readily available, you don’t have to worry about installation processes or your hardware’s capacity for running it.

Data center providers expected this change in demand to happen but have had to offer their services, support and tools much quicker than anticipated. Many cloud-based computing providers are offering their services for a reduced cost or completely free for this period of time. By doing so, they hope to help businesses keep up with the increase in internet traffic due to remote working and the need for entertainment in lockdown. Video conferencing software companies have also offered their software for free so businesses can stay connected as much as possible while working remotely.

Maintaining data security

With the increase in traffic and user end-points needing to access data centers and the virtual workplace, data security becomes a valid concern. Businesses need to be sure that their data is protected behind cybersecurity measures to prevent internal or external attacks. Firewalls, malware, two-step authentication, phishing and filtering are all needed to fight against cybersecurity threats. Data centers are having to up their security measures particularly where they’re assisting with medical and emergency services. As critical COVID-19 tests and communications are now happening online, this highly-sensitive data needs to remain untouchable by external parties.

It’s clear that data centers have a large part to play in allowing businesses to carry out their work remotely. Access to a virtual workplace is one of the few solutions to running large or small businesses from your own home. Whether it’s via colocation or cloud-based data centers, your business can save huge overhead costs by removing the need for on-premise hardware that constantly needs to be updated and managed. As the future of many businesses across the globe is uncertain, data centers have to pull together and utilise online software to handle the increase in demand.

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