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August 17, 2021 | Matt Pacheco

A Holistic Approach to Secure Colocation

As more businesses migrate workloads to the cloud, more and more are choosing colocation. As reported by Market and Markets, the global colocation market is expected to continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.9% by 2022. Security is a major consideration for businesses considering colocation. In this post, we’ll look at why colocation services remain popular even in the cloud services era, and the unique concerns around secure colocation. 

What is colocation?

Colocation allows a business to house its IT infrastructure and equipment in a third-party data center facility. 

Why Are So Many Businesses Choosing Colocation?

While colocation doesn’t offer the full benefits of cloud computing, it does allow the business to shed the responsibility of managing the facility itself. This is highly beneficial for businesses with a forte in IT infrastructure and not facilities management. 

Businesses choose secure colocation facilities for a wide range of reasons. Some of the most common include: 

  • Existing hardware investments – If you’ve made a recent investment in hardware (also known as a capital expenditure), colocation can help you leverage that investment.  
  • In-house skills and expertise – Colocation allows you to refocus your IT talent. It enables you to gradually move day-to-day IT responsibilities to a managed provider. Services like smart or remote hands, can free even more of your resources. 
  • Legacy applications – Many legacy applications aren’t architected for the cloud. Colocation allows you to manage them more closely, decreasing your exposure to cyber threats. 
  • Compliance & security strategy – A data center provider can offer private suites and server storage space for computing hardware. This allows businesses to manage their own infrastructure while staying secure and compliant.  
  • Connectivity options – Third-party data centers offer a variety of carriers and network connectivity options.
  • Space restrictions – Not ready to move some of your workloads to the private or public cloud, but are running out of server rooms and data center space? Renting space via colocation is an option with possible data center space cost savings. 
  • Physical security – On-premises data centers are incredibly vulnerable to physical man-made threats. Good colocation providers take extensive physical security precautions. 
  • Disaster recovery – If your business is located in a disaster-prone region, colocation allows you to house your infrastructure in a less risky area.  

Secure colocation considerations

While colocation makes a lot of business sense, it comes with its own unique security considerations. When you choose colocation, you need to consider both sides of the security equation: physical and cyber. 

Security professionals often talk about the OSI’s 7-layer Network Security model. Layer one is the physical layer, and as mentioned above, physical security is one of the reasons many businesses choose colocation.  

However, since you still own the infrastructure housed in a provider’s data centers, colocation doesn’t inherently address cybersecurity concerns. There are six more layers that you need to secure. 

Complicating matters somewhat, cybercriminals are devising attacks that affect multiple layers. For example, a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack that starts out attacking layer 4, the transport protocol layer, might quickly switch to attacking layer 7, the application layer. Attacks can also come at you from multiple vectors, e.g., DDoS attacks are increasingly being used as a diversion while other types of attacks are launched in the background. 

Decrease your risks in a colocation environment by assessing your risks. We offer a comprehensive vulnerability assessment to help you identify weaknesses in your security systems and strategies. 

We can make colocation easier for you

Colocation with TierPoint allows you to put your company’s IT infrastructure in our strategically located, state-of-the-art data centers. Our facilities are independently audited to ensure we have the controls, processes, and physical security features to help clients get certified as compliant for critical regulations including HIPAA/HITECH, GLBA, PCI-DSS v3.2, and ITAR. Learn about our data center locations and contact us today to request an on-site tour. 

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