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Experience shows that a large portion of data centers in German research institutions, universities and hospitals are not up to date with current security technology. There is also insufficient protection against natural disasters, and longer blackouts have not been considered in power-supply planning. Existing structures are significantly lagging the rapid development of IT and increasingly comprehensive data processing.
A well-thought-out security and backup strategy is not a "nice-to-have" – it is an absolute necessity to ensure the smooth operation of IT systems in the long term. We look at the path these institutions can consider taking in order to secure their data.
Colocation is not cloud
The terms “colocation” and “cloud” are sometimes used interchangeably, possibly because colocation data centers provide direct access to many cloud providers. For many of our clients, our Cloud Connect services and interconnectivity in general are of central importance. However, if you don’t need a connection to cloud systems, you don’t have to use these services.
Colocation simply means that we provide the infrastructure for operating a data center in the form of buildings, power supply and basic management tasks. Our clients decide for themselves which hardware and software to use, based on their respective needs.
The security requirements in research and education are high, and in clinical operations even more so. The insights and work simplifications that digitalization brings have been long awaited; at the same time, the data and IT systems must be reliably protected. The German state of Bavaria, which had the strictest regulations in terms of hospital IT until 2022, allows external data storage in colocation data centers for this reason.
Two locations are better than one
The path to a new IT strategy often begins with a backup solution in a colocation data center. The primary location of the IT systems remains in place, but the data is also stored securely in a secondary location – the backup data center. The distance between the two locations is usually at least 5km. Since 2019, Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security has recommended a distance between data centers of 200km for true georedundancy.
When it comes to a secure and protected environment for primary backup, IT decision-makers often opt for an on-premises solution and choose the nearest colocation data center. If the goal is true georedundancy, the easiest way to achieve this is through two colocation data centers. Combinations of Frankfurt and Munich, or Frankfurt and Berlin, for example, are good options.
Backup, yes – but how?
Once the question of where the backup data center should be located is settled, the organization process begins. The expansion of the provided colocation space is the responsibility of the research institutions, universities or clinics themselves. IT managers face several main questions:
- How big should the backup system be?
- What hardware is required on-site?
- How should the connection be realized?
- At what intervals are the backups carried out?
- How can the systems be restored if necessary?
To give reliable answers to these questions, the individual circumstances of each facility must be analyzed. Working with an experienced service provider who specializes in infrastructure consulting in data centers is recommended.
At NTT Germany AG & Co KG, also part of the NTT group, we have extensive experience in this field. We advise clients, develop the connection design, and run the implementation and management of the complete solution, if desired. Managed security services can also be individually booked through our Security Operation Center.
Store your data securely
For us, security always comes first. Our buildings are built to the highest security standards, based on our many years of experience, and monitored 24x7 by state-of-the-art technology and trained personnel. We ensure a fully redundant power supply and a guaranteed emergency power supply for at least 48 hours, and all rooms meet the highest fire-protection standards.
In short, this is the ideal place to securely store your data.
- ALSO READ → Data centers for research, teaching and medical operations: can the Gordian knot be untied?
This article includes contributions by Christoph Meyer, Senior Client Manager at NTT