Choosing colocation service providers means knowing the propensity of natural disasters where data centers are located. Fortunately for Utah Fibernet seekers, this state is ranked by WalletHub as the third safest in the nation. (For those interested, Utah is also the second safest state for “workplace safety” and fourth safest for “driving safety.”) Knowing how likely a natural disaster is can play a critical role in choosing your data center location. Data centers, including colocation data centers, are built with safeguarding akin to Fort Knox, but nothing is truly indestructible. Clients can find more security in a data center than they could manage on their own—unless you have a really big budget and safety know-how—which is why colocation data centers are so desirable.

In Utah, there are still possibilities for natural disasters just like there are anywhere else. You’ll find preparedness information on the State of Utah website, and it’s worth knowing what the most “common” natural disasters may be, starting with earthquakes. You might not think “earthquakes” when you hear Utah, but the state is located along a major fault line. This means the earth’s crust isn’t very strong in this area, and sometimes fault lines are caused by a geologic break after mountain blocks have been bolstered up naturally in comparison to dipping valleys—which pretty much sums up the landscape of many places in Utah.

Not All “Natural” Things are Good

Spanning from Malad City to Fayette, Utah County boasts a big fault line that runs below a number of residential and business areas. Currently, geologists say that it’s feasible for a 7.5 earthquake to hit this area. The good news is that there are many things businesses can do to prepare for an earthquake, and a good colocation data center will be built to withstand such a disaster. However, earthquakes don’t “just” cause structural damage. They also often leak during power outages, which is why colocation data centers should feature redundant power with generators.

Another possible natural disaster in the state is floods. Flash floods are a potential problem in every single state, but they’re relatively more common in Utah than in some other states. Obviously, the areas with the biggest vulnerabilities are at the bottom of steep slopes, close to stream valleys, and near any natural water source. Hopefully, your colocation service provider built a data center that’s not in a high-risk flood zone (feel free to ask them). It’s best to physically visit the data center if possible to see just what kind of preparation work has been made in case of a flood.

Where the Wild Things Are: Utah

Floods and landslides go hand in hand. Again, landslides are most common near steep slopes. You don’t want a data center nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, for example. Similar precautions should be made for landslides, including avenues for guiding water away from the data center. There are also wildfires to contend with. A state rich in natural beauty and known for sometimes sizzling summers of course can be vulnerable to wildfires. Data centers should be “fireproof” and located in an area far from “kindling” (even if it means the outside landscaping is rather boring).

Finally, there is the risk of an avalanche. A state beloved for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports is going to come with an avalanche risk. These can be particularly troublesome during a quick spring thaw, but shouldn’t impact your data center unless it’s located in a mountainous region. There are avalanche zones in Utah, and of course, your data center should not be located in one of these.

Compared to most other states, Utah doesn’t face many natural disasters. There are also regions of the state more prone to natural disasters than others. When shopping around for a colocation provider, make sure to ask the actual address of the data center, if there have been any natural disasters in recent history, and do your due diligence to make sure the likelihood of a natural disaster is slim. There are never any guarantees, but it’s not very wise to choose a colocation provider with a data center in the middle of the woods (wildfires), in a ski resort town (avalanches), or at the bottom of a slope (floods and landslides). Common sense can go a long way—as can researching geographic locations.




Do you think your business might need colocation services, but you’re not quite sure? Do you want to make sure this is the right move for you right now before you start researching local providers and data centers? Maybe you’re not even sure what colocation providers do, but in your quest for a better web host you’ve been inundated with the term. Cloud hosting targets small businesses, and colocation services are an alternative for small to mid-sized companies who want to snag scalability while maintaining the best security. It’s for businesses that want a budget-friendly option and who expect (or hope!) for growth, so they want a service provider who can “grow” with them.

However, for the non-techie, coming across terms like dedicated hosting, hybrid options, and colocation service providers can be frustrating and read like mumbo jumbo. First things first: What exactly is colocation? Basically, it’s when you house a server you own in a data center managed by pros. You’re not leasing or renting hardware—you own it. However, you don’t have to manage it. You rent “rack space” in a colocation environment, but you still provide all of the servers and hardware that goes along with it. It’s almost like having an in-house server, but you avoid risks and enjoy scalability that’s otherwise impossible.

Isn’t Colocation an Obvious Choice?

Now that you know what colocation is, how do you know if it’s for you? It sounds like a great approach where you enjoy all the rewards of having your own server with none of the risks. Plus, if you’re a small business with big growth dreams, you’d better make sure scalability is on the agenda. However, bear in mind that timing is everything. You might be overdue for making the switch, or you might not be there yet. Answer these key questions and you’ll find out if “colo” is for you right now:

  • Are you an early-stage startup on a budget? Sometimes there’s a thin line between “startup” and small business. The vast majority of startups fail, and sometimes poor financial decisions exacerbate an already delicate situation. If you’re strapped for cash and your current web presence includes just a smattering of static pages, you probably don’t need a more advanced infrastructure right now. In fact, with static pages, you may never need colocation. It’s when you start adding more dynamic pages that colocation can help. There are many financial investments you can make to bolster your startup’s odds for success, but going with a colocation center isn’t one of them. Wait until you make it to “small business size” and then reconsider.
  • Do you have an in-house server already? If so, then going with a colocation provider might be a great way to get more protection and up your redundancy. After all, you’ve already made the “big purchase.” Servers can be incredibly expensive, to the tune of $200,000 in some cases. If you haven’t already purchased a server, make sure you really need one first. Otherwise, you could easily bankrupt your business before it has a fighting chance.
  • Are you all about physical infrastructure? Web hosting is a complex issue and it’s a lot more than owning servers and related equipment. You also need to focus on connectivity, cooling strategies, and redundant power just to get started. Having everything you need in-house is a lot of work and very expensive. Businesses that already own servers and are after an improved infrastructure can benefit from colocation services.
  • Are you “certified”? Some industries require certification, particularly if you store sensitive information. Surprisingly, a lot of businesses go colocation because it’s the best, easiest way to abide by certification requirements like the SOC I Type II or the HIPAA standards. Some of these certifications are incredibly complex, and you can spend a lot of time and money trying to play by the rules. A colocation provider takes care of a lot of the leg work for you, freeing you up to actually run your business.
  • Do you need high-performing hardware for your applications? Some applications use a bevy of resources, and it can be expensive to find the best solutions from web hosts. “High-performance servers” may be offered from a slew of web hosts, but there will come a time when you might need to just buy your own. Leasing hardware is kind of like renting an apartment instead of buying: It works well for a while, but most people eventually outgrow that kind of situation.

Colocation isn’t for everyone, but it’s a fantastic solution for many growing companies. Go with a local provider for optimal customer service and peace of mind knowing that professionals and your data center are relatively close—yet far enough away that you can sit back and let the experts take care of much of the busy work.





Colocation provider data centers have to achieve compliance in some instances to “keep things legal.” If you own or manage a company that requires such certifications, you already know which ones are necessary—but are you sure your colocation provider has actually achieved these security levels? From HIPAA to SSAE 16, it’s up to the client to make sure they (and their colocation provider) have the requisite paperwork in place. The major industry standards and certifications include HIPAA, PCI DSS 3.0, SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type 2, SOC 2 Type 2, and ISAE 3402. There are over 1,000 <a href=””>colocation data centers</a> in North America, and you shouldn’t assume that all are fully compliant. Some don’t have clients that require these certifications, while other, smaller providers might not think it’s worth the time and money to pursue them. In order to be fully compliant, an unbiased, third-party auditing firm must confirm that a data center has successfully reached the right industry standards that are rigorous at best.

After a full audit, compliance reports are given to the data centers and can then be shared with appropriate clients. These certifications guarantee that there’s a certain level of <a href=””>data privacy, security</a>, control, and availability at the data center. This is, unsurprisingly, a very challenging and expensive process for the <a href=””>data center provider</a>. Each of the certifications boasts intensive and lengthy requirements. For example, HIPAA outlines physical and administrative rules, organizational safety rules, documentation procedures for policies, and an overall outline of procedures. In order to get HIPAA certified, a data center must meet the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) prerequisites.

<strong>Keeping Clients Secure</strong>

Another popular certification is the PCI DSS or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This is a must for organizations that deal with credit card transactions—which includes many e-businesses. In order to safely process payments online, an auditing company must also confirm that a data center followed the SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type 2/SOC 2 Type 2 standards, or the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements. All systems and controls related to availability and security must pass muster. Plus, getting compliant with the International Standards for Assurance Engagements (ISAE) is a much-needed accessory, and is designed to safeguard the public and shareholders from potential accounting problems or mistakes in other related materials.

Specifically, SSAE 16 was created for certified public accountants (CPAs), so they could better oversee controls and keep businesses, shareholders, and clients safe. Few colocation data centers in North America boast all available certifications, but that’s not important to clients who rent rack space. What’s important as a colocation client is that your data center features certifications for your specific needs (if any). Most businesses don’t have such certification requirements, since only the most vulnerable and involved in finances or data privacy have such restrictions.

<strong>Security Measures for Every Data Center</strong>

While certification isn’t always a requirement, keeping close, accurate documentation on procedures, records and systems is a must. The data center shouldn’t be leaving any gray areas or unnecessary requirements for their clients. According to a CPA who’s involved with auditing data centers, Scott Price of A-Lign, “Certifying compliance across all facilities is a significant accomplishment and an uncommon feat these days.” However, he points out that keeping the bar high and protecting a data center’s clients is something that should be standard, not an exception. For data centers that specialize in serving clients in these niche industries, it’s a fantastic way to optimize protection.

<strong>Choosing the Right Data Center</strong>

Any data center that does have a certification is required to share audit reports with anyone who requests them. The detailed reports outline exactly how the data center abides by updated rules and standards. Every year, these regulations may change, so getting re-certified is an annual task for data centers that are committed to added security. Additionally, as more data centers seek to serve niche industries (and those with higher demands), it’s likely that certification will become more common across the board.

However, certification is just one aspect to consider when shopping for a colo provider (albeit a very necessary one for those who need it). Also <a href=””>consider geographic location</a> and propensity for natural disasters, the 24/7 availability of customer support, connectivity, and the general safety levels of a data center. If possible, tour the facility and build a relationship with the data center provider. This is the business that’s keeping your server(s) and online presence secure, so shopping shouldn’t be taken lightly.