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June 1, 2021 | Matt Pacheco

Using Colocation for Disaster Recovery

How long could your organization afford to go without access to its data or critical systems? If you don’t have a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy, it could take days or weeks to restore your IT systems following a major business disruption.

Almost all organizations today depend on their data backups, software, and the internet to conduct business. When those resources are unavailable, business grinds to a halt. Smart CIOs have disaster recovery and business continuity strategies and plan to quickly move business operations to a colocation data center during a disaster.

Colocation is safer by design

Colocation has become more popular as concerns over cyberattacks and climate change have grown. CEOs and CIOs want to achieve IT resilience, so their companies can continue to operate despite disruptions. IDC defines IT resilience as “the ability to protect data during planned disruptive events, effectively react to unplanned events, and accelerate data-oriented business initiatives.”

Colocation helps ensure IT resilience by providing disaster-resistant infrastructure and redundant IT systems, power, and networking. Many state-of-the-art colocation data centers also provide a backup workspace for customers impacted by a disaster.

Severe weather events and other disasters cost $155 billion globally in 2018. Likewise, cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by the end of 2021.

Moving a company’s primary IT equipment or data storage systems to a colocation facility is an attractive option for CIOs concerned about data loss and downtime. It reduces the need to invest CAPEX or financial resources to build, staff, and maintain an on-premises data center.

Having a colocation partner that is experienced in disaster preparedness can be a relief when a major event happens. Just ask Sam Bayer, CEO of Corevist, an eCommerce platform provider for manufacturers. Located in Raleigh, NC, the company has weathered several major storms in the past few years.

“Hurricanes in the area cause us and our customers a lot of stress,” noted Bayer.

When Hurricane Florence (a Category 4 storm) came ashore in 2018, Bayer was able to reassure customers that the IT systems were safe and secure in TierPoint’s Raleigh data center.

“We had confidence because [TierPoint’s people] were managing the situation,” said Bayer.

In fact, Corevist suffered no downtime at all, despite the storm causing $17 billion in damage elsewhere in the state.

3 reasons colocation is an effective disaster recovery solution

The biggest benefits of colocation for a disaster recovery strategy are:


For many businesses, maintaining an on-premises to manage data and applications can be expensive (think: internet connectivity, network equipment, real estate, power, etc.) One of the great advantages of colocation is that it allows multiple businesses to share in the cost of facility maintenance and operations.

Physical resilience

A colocation facility will be much better equipped to protect IT systems and data in a natural disaster than the average company can afford to be. It should also have redundancy built throughout the IT infrastructure. Read more about modern data center infrastructure must-haves. Depending on your geographic region, look for evidence it is built to withstand local disasters, such as a Category 4 or 5 hurricane and EF4 or 5 tornadoes.

The provider should be certified on IT industry standards such as:

  • ISO 22301, an international standard for business continuity management for natural and man-made disasters, environmental accidents, and technology failures.
  • The Uptime Institute’s Tier certifications for Tier IV-fault tolerant site infrastructure or Tier III-concurrently maintainable site infrastructure
  • Trusted Site Infrastructure (TSI) – a list of requirements on ten different areas of a data center including areas such as environment, construction, fire-handling, security, cabling, energy, air, organization, and documentation.

Advanced security

Good colocation data centers have advanced security features. Physical security should include 24-hour electronic monitoring with onsite staff, locked cages for customer equipment, and access controlled by two-factor authentication. Two security standards that providers should meet are:

  • The Center for Internet Security best practices on privacy and security.
  • ISO 27001 — Information Security Management System (ISMS) for managing sensitive company information.

A colocation provider may also offer managed security services to protect against large-scale cybersecurity attacks. Managed security services can help IT departments stop cyberattacks before they do major damage to prevent and mitigate threats.

Improve your resilience against disasters

IT resilience is a critical factor in business success. Downtime can cost a company lost revenues as well as loss of customer trust and damage to the brand image. IT resilience and business continuity are driving businesses to colocation services as a key element of their disaster recovery plan.

Originally published in March 2019, this post was updated on June 1, 2021, to reflect changes in stats and to add more information on colocation and disaster recovery trends.

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