Big data defines the current era. Everyone needs it, everyone accumulates it, and everyone’s running out of room for it. With e-commerce and cloud computing at the core of many companies today, small and medium-sized businesses as well as major corporations want to know how to store their data easily and safely.
To Pierre Samson, senior director at 4Degrees, which offers co-location services to companies, the answer to data storage isn’t to do it yourself.
“The main problem companies face when they try to manage their own data and servers is building a reliable recovery strategy in case of a network or power outage,” he said, adding that if the company grows or moves to a new location, expanding or modifying their servers can be costly, complicated, and their operations could lose some agility.
In fact, data centres require a robust physical environment to survive. “It takes a lot of electricity, air conditioning, and security to manage this data properly,” Samson said.
So when Videotron acquired 4Degrees, a Quebec City data centre, and started building one in Montreal set to open in July 2016, it focused on creating an optimal and reliable physical infrastructure to host servers. In fact, 4Degrees’s new building will be the only one in Montreal that’s designed specifically to host a data centre, with its architecture and security meeting the highest international standards. Coupled with Videotron’s telecommunications expertise, its centres are equipped to support companies of any size, giving them a world-class facility to manage their data.
Each of the 4Degrees sites has more than 30,000 square feet of appropriately cooled space, often borrowing Canada’s own chilly outdoor air to keep indoor temperatures balanced. Sourcing the province’s affordable and ecological energy, the centres are equipped with powerful generators and fibre optics from multiple providers that guarantee there will never be an outage.
“If a natural disaster occurred at one of the two sites — like the ice storm of ’98, for example — our clients’ systems will not go down,” Samson explained. “We have a relief structure, so whatever happens, the system is always up and running.”
Plus, because 4Degrees has data centres in Montreal and Quebec City, firms can benefit from geographic redundancy, replicating the systems and structures protecting the companies’ data.
What this means for a company’s bottom line is a lot less money spent on managing the sometimes unmanageable.
“In-house data centres can cost a fortune, from the hardware to setting up the server environment,” Samson said. “No company complains that they have too many IT resources, so when those resources are used to work on essential tasks like e-commerce and processes, instead of data hosting and maintenance, it improves the whole business operation.”
To that end, if a company hosts its data remotely with 4Degrees, growth is a simple matter of renting more space. Plus, moving to a new location is seamless, since the systems remain operational throughout the entire transfer. Alternatively, if a company needs less space for its data, it is easily dealt with as well.
On 4Degrees’s part, if they update their equipment, expand or renovate, none of this will have an impact on their clients’ data spaces, and there is no interruption in service.
“So companies don’t have to mobilize such a large chunk of their capital on IT,” Samson explained. “Instead of investing in that, we provide them a turnkey solution, and a safe space that’s perfectly secure for their data.”
Companies also want to make sure their customers’ transactions can be carried out in a completely protected manner. So in addition to Tier III certification — which ensures the solid and sturdy construction of 4Degrees’s spaces — Samson said they are PCI-DSS compliant, which guarantees private and secure transactions, and they’ll also have ISO 27001 certification, which ensures that 4Degrees has best-in-class international security standards with archives and logs, as well as video and camera footage, to keep track of all manner of activity at each site. In other words, absolutely nothing flies under the radar.
This kind of solution affords international companies the opportunity to set up shop in Quebec, and encourages local businesses to stay that way, all while keeping operations costs low.
“Canada is politically and economically stable,” Samson said. “This is attractive for American, Asian, or European companies that are looking to have a Canadian base.”
A dependable data centre is especially ideal for businesses that have considerable broadband, accounting and transactional needs, because it ensures those processes can happen smoothly and securely at all times.
“This way, companies can focus on their core business, rather than wasting time on tasks that don’t make money,” Samson explained.
This story was produced by Olivia Collette (Content Works) on behalf of 4Degrees, a subsidiary of Videotron, for commercial purposes. Postmedia’s editorial departments had no involvement in the creation of this content.