Choosing data locations is a tricky yet important decision to make for any business. The right data center location can make all the difference, ensuring you reach your entire target audience effectively and efficiently. By contrast, the wrong choice at the outset of a new business venture could lead to untold problems further down the line.
There are many logistical aspects to keep in mind when choosing data locations – including the following key criteria:
When choosing a data location, the first thing to think about is the proximity to your target audience. Geo-hosting at locations a long way from potential clients or partners may cause problems. It also makes a difference to the audience’s connection speed, potentially resulting in lengthy page load times when people are trying to access your site. The typical web user isn’t patient anymore, and they’ll look elsewhere rather than waiting for pages to appear in their browser.
If you don’t already know where customers are based, it’s easy to find out where your audience is located using an analytics platform like Google Analytics. This generates reports devoted to telling you where site visitors are based, potentially helping to narrow down data center locations.
Content delivery networks (CDNs)
Implementing CDNs might help to alleviate concerns about proximity issues. A CDN holds content that frequently needs to be delivered to users at different data centers around the world, speeding up the delivery of that content irrespective of where the users are. CDNs are often chosen by larger businesses that deal with dynamic content including images and videos as part of their products or services. They’re also a valid option for sites looking to reach a global audience.
The physical risk to a data location is another factor to evaluate when choosing data locations. A center in an area prone to extreme weather or natural disasters is at far greater risk. Unpredictable events may cause significant damage to hardware or result in long-term outages. However, it’s not quite as simple as choosing to avoid centers in such locations. There are lots of populous areas at risk of extreme weather or natural disasters, potentially including regions where prospective clients are located. Balancing the equation of proximity and risk should help to optimize geo-hosting strategies.
In the age of GDPR, cybersecurity is a crucial issue for all businesses. It isn’t practical to ignore the threat posed by cyber-criminals, even while choosing data locations. Any data center worth its salt ought to provide top-notch digital and physical security as a matter of routine. Indeed, protection against hackers and other digital criminals should be a given for any data center worthy of consideration.
Physical security is also important, however. When comparing data locations, consider how well protected each one is. Do they keep records of everyone who accesses their systems, or use high-end access features like biometric authentication?
Redundancies are measures taken by a data center to ensure their service is still provided in almost any conceivable scenario. Hosting shouldn’t fail if something goes wrong at the data center, such as a power cut. Many large data centers have generators on-site specifically to ensure services (and customer data) aren’t lost in the event of a power outage.
By keeping the above factors in mind, your choice of data location should become clear. It’s possible to achieve a balance of proximity, risk, and security. This will ensure that your hosting is as reliable and effective as clients expect in today’s mature online environment.
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