Organizations are increasingly outsourcing key aspects of their IT infrastructure, and the data center is no exception. Many companies are using third-party data center providers to help them with certain tasks and services beyond the day-to-day operation. Such organizations have specific goals and priorities when choosing the right provider, as described in a report released Tuesday by US Signal.

Based on a recent survey of 110 US-based IT decision-makers, US Signal’s “2020 State of Data Center Offerings” report cited security and compliance, backup and disaster recovery, and network availability as the top factors when selecting a third-party edge data center provider. Edge data center providers are so named because they extend the edge of an organization’s network. Typically, the provider also has facilities close to a customer’s physical locations and users to increase performance and reduce latency.

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Among the respondents, 58% pointed to security and compliance as a high priority when choosing a data center provider, while 31% listed this as their top priority. With rising ransomware attacks and the increased need to follow regulations such as CCPA and GDPR, companies are looking to data center providers to help with security and compliance.

Some 42% of those surveyed cited disaster recovery and backup availability as a key factor when evaluating edge data center providers. A full 66% said they currently use backup and disaster recovery services from an edge data center provider. However, some 54% admitted that they’re only somewhat confident or not very confident in their disaster recovery and backup solution, especially in the wake of a cyberattack, IT outage, or natural disaster.

Next, a full 91% said they’re more likely to choose a data center provider located close to their users. In line with this, 46% of the respondents said they prioritize network capacity and connectivity options when selecting a provider, with 15% calling it their top priority. Data center proximity and network connectivity are especially important to businesses that host latency-sensitive applications.

The cost of outsourcing your data center to a third-party provider was a top consideration among almost half of the respondents. Other priorities mentioned in the survey were direct access to hyperscale cloud providers, power redundancy, and on-site support.

Among the respondents, 66% said their current IT infrastructure operates in a hybrid mode, using both the cloud and on-premises facilities. Some 20% said their infrastructure was entirely cloud-based, while only 14 percent said it was all on-premises.

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Despite the move toward external data center providers, 86% of the respondents said they have sufficient resources to handle their daily data center operations. Some 34% started using edge data center providers within the last six months, while 11% began the process within the last two weeks.

“The recent introduction of major data regulations signals a change in the way governments are viewing data management, and this is causing companies to better equip themselves by seeking the services of third-party data center providers,” Dave Wisz, executive vice president of operations for US Signal, said in a press release. “This, coupled with the consumer demand for easy and quick access to data, is causing the required offerings from data center providers to evolve in ways that ease the burden of security, connectivity, data protection, and compliance for customers.”

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