Keysource partners to provide new data centre risk management service

Critical environments and data centre specialist, Keysource, has partnered with Corporate Risk Associates (CRA) to meet growing demand for risk management services in the data centre sector.

This partnership will offer in-depth performance and risk management services, to allow them to build up a full risk profile of their data estates, taking in a range of factors including location, operational performance and resilience, risk and critical processes monitoring.

Keysource says that the in-depth analysis will also advise clients on selecting the most appropriate data centre model for their business, through an in-depth understanding of the risk involved in each option.

Mike West, chairman at Keysource, said:

“Despite cyber security and data resilience becoming board-level concerns, there is a dearth of specialist consultancy available in the market to help businesses grasp and manage risks in their data centre estates. This joint venture will fill that gap by combining Keysource’s vast experience in the design and operation of data centres with CRA’s risk management expertise.

“We will work with clients to ensure that they understand where risk lies in their IT infrastructure, select the best options for new investment and mitigate any potential threats. With cyber risk set to take on increasing significance for corporate due diligence, this partnership means we are well placed to capitalise on a growing market.”

Jasbir Sidhu, CEO of CRA, said

“We have 16 years’ experience of providing risk assessments to critical industries – including maintaining national infrastructures in the power, defence and transport sectors. Our approach, which sees us look at the facilities, hardware and human elements of day-to-day operation, will enable us to ensure that the joint venture’s clients have an incredibly robust understanding of the risk related to their data centres.”

Interested in finding out more or seeing how we can ensure visibility across your data centre estate? Call us on 0345 204 3333 and speak to Oliver Goodman.

Are you asking the right questions?

As the data centre landscape changes, it is becoming increasingly more important to make sure you are asking the right questions and including all stakeholders when considering your data centre options. As we see continue to see the disconnect between design and operation, our Associate Director, Steve Lorimer, highlights why we, as consultants, need to challenge our customers in understanding what they are trying to achieve, rather than taking briefs at face value. You can read the article below or see the full magazine here.

Traditionally, the design of new data centres has been at the forefront of clients’ minds when procuring new IT infrastructures. Meanwhile the less glamorous maintenance and operation element is put on the backburner until, in some cases, after the build is complete.

In recent years this has led to data centre systems that are excessively expensive and unable to perform in the long-term. The industry has been relatively slow in resolving this but now, more than ever, clients need greater insight to help them navigate the wealth of solutions on the market while minimising costs.

Last year we aimed to do this through the launch of our specialist consultancy division. We recognised the need to join our FM and design and build offering as a service, that can guide clients in considering both elements right from the outset. Since then, it’s proved to be the panacea clients didn’t know they needed.

IT is increasingly integral to companies’ wider business strategies as well as their dayto-day operation. Even now, high-profile examples of server downtime are acting as huge reputational issues affecting stock prices and customer perceptions. This is only set to continue as businesses grow their reliance on big data, automation and systems underpinned by highly available systems.

Often end-users have a preconceived idea of what they want for their data centre system. From a design perspective this can be any number of in-house, co-located, cloud systems or hybrid solutions. Often they are blinded to new technology on the market and the latest cutting edge systems. Stripping the process back to the fundamental question, ‘what do you want to achieve?’ is more vital than ever.

Clients have never been faced with a range of options as broad as they are today. Navigating this with them can show clients that initial plans, and the combination of new technology they want to include, may be too expensive, or, in the worst cases, not meet their objectives when maintenance and design are factored in.

Too often the industry simply takes the brief from clients without challenging it. We now work with clients before they put design and build tenders out to the market – working alongside internal teams to develop a system that meets their needs, is future-proof and is cost efficient in the long term.

As one example, one of the biggest operational costs clients face in running their own in-house data centre is cooling and failure of this can result in significant downtime. Design teams will often aim to ensure that cooling systems are optimised across rack space but, when it comes to operation – FM teams need to be in the loop to work out whether different permutations of cooling systems will be easy to access and maintain.

As the industry attempts to meet best practice guidance set out by the BS EN 50600 standard, collaboration will become even more important. With both design and maintenance considerations in the guidelines, simply having one party at the table is unable to produce a cutting edge data centre any longer. Particularly if clients are tempted to overinvest in new technology without considering their current and expected capacity needs and the long term maintenance costs of these systems.

Keysource shortlisted at this year’s DCS Awards

We are proud to announce Keysource has been shortlisted as a finalist in two categories at this year’s Data Centre Solutions (DCS) Awards.

Our data centre managed services project with the Metropolitan Police Service, which picked up a top award at last year’s DatacentreDynamics Awards, has been shortlisted for Data Centre Management Project of the Year.  This project sees Keysource working as a key pillar in the MPS SIAM framework, helping the MPS deliver technology transformation against their 20:20 objectives.

Keysource is also really proud to have been shortlisted for the new Excellence in Service award. This award recognises companies that have gone above and beyond, not only for their customers but also in shaping the industry.  Launched last year Keysource’s consultancy and professional services offering has challenged traditional approaches to IT asset strategy and through engaging much earlier with our customers we’ve delivered highly diverse and innovative strategies that meet long term customer requirements.

The awards assessment panel thoroughly reviewed all entries for the awards before selecting the finalists, who now face a public vote. Voting opened on 27th March and will close on 27th  April and votes can be cast at www.dcsawards.com/voting.php.

The awards are backed by Datacentre Solutions magazine, the official journal of the Data Centre Alliance. The DCS Awards will be announced at an evening event at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London on the 18th May.

Jon Healy, Associate Director, Keysource commented:

It’s great to have been chosen as finalist for our project with the Metropolitan Police Service, and that the company has been recognised for its customer approach through our new consultancy offering.  We hope to succeed in May following a success in previous DCS Awards. We hope lots of people will visit the website and vote!

Keysource is chosen to deliver major data centre project for leading cruise ship operator

We are proud to announce we have been appointed by a leading cruise ship operator to design and install a new data centre at its new headquarters in Uxbridge.

The contract will see Keysource deliver a turnkey data centre system to support the client’s business critical IT services associated with the operation of 14 cruise ships – including performance monitoring and proactive identification of potential issues.

The project follows a decision by the client to relocate its staff from Italy and central London to consolidate its operations and support future growth. In addition, the system will also house data for the recordings generated by the client’s UK contact centre which receives calls from new and existing customers around the world.

Keysource’s appointment will see it lead on key design objectives including the support of flexible IT requirements and the ability for the data centre to work efficiently at low loads in line with business requirements.

Jon Healy, Associate Director at Keysource, said:

This new solution will be developed in line with the latest regulations and industry standards. It will guarantee long term reliability and availability of critical services to the business but ensure they are delivered in a sustainable and efficient way, maximising the return on investment

See the bigger picture

Published in the Winter Data Centre Management Magazine, our Head of Design; Stephen Lorimer looks at resilience and how the industry mindset needs to change.

A common definition of ‘resilience’ is ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties’. When applied to the data centre sector it is more commonly accepted as: the ability of an IT infrastructure to continue to operate, for example following an issue such as power outage, equipment failure or human error.

There is a general misconception that all data centres should be highly resilient. In fact, I lose count of the times that customers have started initial meetings by requesting a “Tier III or Tier IV facility and, above all, absolute protection against any data loss.” Quite often by the end of the initial engagement they realise that they are already achieving the redundancy they need within their IT layer and can normally operate safely with a lower resilience classification.

Historically organisations have often made the mistake of designing highly resilient data centres without properly considering why and whether or not they actually need them to be highly resilient. As a result they have ended up with, at best, facilities that have been both expensive to construct and continue to be operationally expensive, and unnecessarily complex, to operate.

At the heart of this problem is the fact that decisions about the resilience of supporting M&E infrastructure are often made without any proper consideration about what level of availability the IT service is actually required to deliver. To do this involves taking a step back and looking at the wider IT strategy – an approach that is endorsed in the EU Code of Conduct which clearly states that organisations should “deploy resilience in line with requirements.’

This failure in approach can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common one we see is that organisations do not engage with a specialist. Whilst in-house teams are often extremely competent, data centre design is rarely their ‘core skill’ so the end result may not always meet and sometimes contradicts the company’s IT objectives.

For those occasions where design and build is the best option we, as an industry, need to put more of a focus on ensuring that data centres are ‘designed for operation’ and the team responsible for maintaining and running the facility is engaged from the outset. As an organisation we encourage different stakeholders, to be part of the process from the outset, as we feel that this delivers the best results. This early engagement is key as not having all the stakeholders involved may mean that not all impacts are properly considered and addressed as part of the design…

Continue reading in the Winter edition of Data Centre Management Magazine

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