What is colocation and how can it benefit your business?

Instead, they can opt for much more affordable, and equally effective, colocation and cloud services. Otherwise, small firms would have to purchase web servers and employ people to maintain them, and for most small businesses, such a proposition is simply not affordable.

What are colocation and cloud services?
Cloud services, which allow companies to operate their IT networks on banks of networked servers, whether for data storage or hosting websites, have become increasingly popular as a low-cost way to run IT operations. 

With colocation, such as supplied by Aegis Data, a leader in the field, companies either rent a server from the colocation provider or buy their own and give it to them. Your server is then placed in the server bank and it’s hooked up to the network. You’re given an IP address and an allocation of bandwidth by the colocation provider.

Colocation is similar to having your website and other IT services hosted by a company, but in this case you either own or rent the hardware. One of the main reasons that small firms choose colocation is the cost of the bandwidth, which is usually far lower than that offered by hosting companies.

What are the advantages?
There are many advantages to using an external company to host your server, including being protected from power outages that would knock an in-house system offline, possibly causing disruptions to your business. Colocation providers will typically have backup energy plans, such as generators, in the event of any power outage, meaning that their servers — and yours — remain operational. This is also the case with operators of cloud computing services.

Other benefits of colocation include being able to upgrade your hardware and software whenever you want, rather than waiting for a hosting firm to do so, and the colocation provider may be able to maintain your server for you, saving you the cost of employing an IT professional to look after it.

With both colocation and cloud computing, there’s also the issue of security: you don’t want someone breaking in and stealing your server with all of its valuable data, about your company and your customers. Such an occurrence could be devastating to your business, including its reputation. Colocation and cloud providers have stringent security measures, meaning your machine and its data are strongly protected at all times.

Are there any disadvantages? 
For small businesses, the downsides of colocation are relatively few; it’s pricier than web hosting but the bandwidth allocation generally overrides that concern; and if you want to physically access your server, you’ll have to go to the provider’s location, which is usually not much of a problem.

On the other hand, there’s growing availability of cloud computing services, including the major technology companies, and prices are increasingly coming down.

Could colocation and cloud computer be the answer to your IT problems?