Four Predictions For Colocation in 2020

By Clint Heiden, Chief Revenue Officer, QTS Data Centers and Founder of IEIC

Automotive companies are putting as much R&D into software as engines; banks are declaring themselves as technology companies; and data center operators need to be more prompt about innovation than how fast cement dries. The Internet has changed everything, here’s what will be important to consumers of colocation moving forward.

Published in Issue 4 | July 31, 2020

INNOVATION

Companies are beginning to realize the enormous task at hand of managing their Internet avatar. What does the online presence of their company look like? How does it interact with the world? Is it serving customers or employees? Is it secure? Is it resilient? Previously, these questions were far less complex and many companies built, owned and operated their own data center. Or, they fashioned the least used space in the corporate office complex as a “data center”. When a bank goes from 100% analog transactions to 100% online portal transactions numbering in the billions—you’ve hit a new paradigm…one they are not equipped to handle. Moving colocation from on-prem to off-prem in today’s environment requires innovation that creates data transparency and visibility. Companies must have a full view of every aspect of their operations, just as if they ran the data center themselves, with the ability to see what services they have purchased and how much of those services they are consuming.

SUSTAINABILITY

In the 80’s less than 1% of the world was online. In 2019, many estimates place the percentage at greater than 50%. Why does this matter? An industry is growing up in front of our eyes to support everything, from our habitual views of cat videos to our refrigerator communicating with us about the need to get eggs today. This, in turn, has created the rise of the data center as one of the largest energy users on the planet. And as one of the largest users of energy comes the responsibility of being one of the most environmentally conscious users. As the idea of recycling evolves from plastic to data, we will begin to think about where our data lives, what is used to produce it, what is its carbon footprint and what’s the impact of data on non-renewable resources. Large enterprises and tomorrow’s leaders, in particular, will demand that data center operators create a sustainable infrastructure to earn their business.

CYBER RESILIENCE

Now that we’ve put “everything” online, is there any doubt that cyber threats are a fact of life? Are you prepared to ensure that your business can continue in the face of an increasing dependency on information technology and a growing cyber threat landscape? You likely have taken steps to reduce the impact of cyber security attacks, but have you included cyber resilience as a required competency for your organization? It’s not enough to have an IT plan for cyber threats, organizations must ensure that their business can continue to function in a world of constant attacks against IT infrastructure. It is a business imperative, not an IT issue. This is digital resilience, and organizations need to ensure that they have a strategy for cyber resilience that incorporates not only their own IT infrastructure and business processes, but also that of key partners, solution providers and suppliers. Should a business trust a data center operator that doesn’t already have a significant set of expert resources addressing these issues? The answer is a resounding no.