It’s always best to ask questions before you sign a contract, not just for legal reasons, but also for practical reasons. When signing with a colocation provider, by asking the right questions, you can make the best choices for your IT needs. Some of the key questions to ask before entering into a colocation contract are:
What levels of physical security does the data center provide?
Access to all the devices in the data center should be restricted. Data centers should have protocols in place to make certain only people with authorized access can get into the building or rooms where your equipment is stored. Direct access to servers, storage devices, and other technology should be under lock and key. There should be security guards, visual monitoring systems, and biometrics in place. Authorized users from your company may be given a computerized access card.
What does the provider use to power the equipment and what steps are in place to get your systems back online as quickly as possible in an emergency?
Data can be corrupted if a power outage occurs. Customers can move to competitors if the system is down. Colocation providers should be able to explain what resources they use to get operations running in these circumstances. They should specifically be asked about the redundancy schemes they have in place.
What is the layout and infrastructure of the facility?
Providers should indicate how big their cabinets and cages are, how much equipment the cabinets or cages hold, what type of flooring is used, what protocols are in place in case of a fire, and other questions that help the company understand exactly how their equipment is being stored.
Does the colocation provider offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs)? If so, what types and what services do they offer?
Are power, bandwidth, or network SLAs offered? If the provider doesn’t offer an SLA – why not? What are the financial terms, and what services are actually provided in the SLA?
What happens in the case of a natural disaster?
Is the center equipped to handle hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes? If so, how are they equipped? The provider should explain the recovery procedures that are used if a natural disaster strikes.
Some additional questions to ask the colocation provider before signing any contract are:
- How does their fiber connectivity work? Are they prepared to handle a rapid increase in demand?
- Is the location company providing the bandwidth, or does the business have to arrange for connection?
- Is remote hand service available around the clock? Are technicians onsite at all times to handle any emergencies that arise? Do the technicians understand your products and hardware?
- Does the location provider have any necessary data center compliance certificates?
- Are the backup services on location or at another site?
- What are Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solutions in place?