How Successful Retailers Leverage IT and Retail Data Centers for Growth

Leveraging IT and Retail Data CentersIn today’s world, customers expect to shop anywhere and at any time. Savvy retailers are reinventing themselves to meet these expectations. They’re upgrading platforms and making sure disparate systems work together seamlessly. By leveraging IT and retail data centers, retailers can meet ongoing customer demands.

One of the major challenges for retailers in meeting their IT goals is the sheer volume of data that must be managed. More and more information is being collected from shoppers than ever before. To succeed in the market place and grow their businesses, retailers must build data-rich shopper profiles and then develop effective strategies based on the gleaned information.

The massive amount of data collected can be used in numerous ways. For example, gathered information can help shape a dynamic supply chain. It can also assist a mobile-equipped sales force.

Another challenge is building an omnichannel retail model. Omnichannel retailing refers to a multichannel approach that provides customers with a uniform shopping experience. Whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop, online from a mobile device, by telephone or in a traditional bricks and mortar location, the experience should always be the same – smooth, simple and customer-focused.

This new wave of omnichannel retailing brings many opportunities to retail organizations. However, creating a unified IT environment to support multichannel shopping requires retailers to invest heavily in building and maintaining an integrated platform. A successful platform will integrate the retailer’s services, technologies and processes, as well as share data across the organization.

Successful omnichannel retailers today include some household names. In an Omnichannel Readiness Report published in RIS News, Nordstrom and Apple tied for first place, followed by Macy’s, Walmart, Target and Best Buy. According to their peers, these retailers offer customers a seamless shopping experience across all channels.

How Retailers Leverage Retail Data Centers

The right colocation solution will help retailers address key issues and improve their competitive positioning by helping them implement an omnichannel strategy. Here are some of the major ways retail data centers can be leveraged:

  • Provides space for e-commerce, inventory and store systems
  • Lowers capital and operating expenses
  • Guarantees high levels of system uptime through SLAs
  • Connects stores and headquarters through high-speed networks
  • Deploys military-grade security and 24/7/365 monitoring
  • Offers High Performance Computing capabilities to efficiently collect, process, store and report and ever-growing volume of data
  • Provides customized disaster recovery solutions with individually secured offices, business amenities and on-site staff available for around-the-clock assistance

Retail data centers play a big role in a retailer’s success. A proven colocation solution with experience working with retail organizations can improve data management, customer service and overall business performance.

CyrusOne’s colocation solutions are designed to accommodate the specialized requirements of a retail data center. Continue to read the CyrusOne Blog for additional information on data center services for retail organizations.

7 Major Trends Affecting Retail Colocation Solutions

retail colocation trendsIn the coming years, retailers will address several trends to improve their competitive positioning. The strategies they develop as a result will greatly affect investments in technology and retail colocation solutions. Some of the major trends facing the retail industry include:

  1. Cross-Channel Shopper Engagement – Regardless of platform, retailers will need to recognize and understand their shoppers, if they want to differentiate themselves successfully. To create a one-to-one shopper experience, they’ll need to provide customized messaging and content through every channel.
  1. Personalization – Customers expect retailers to provide what they want, when and where they want it. They want a streamlined shopping process on their preferred shopping channels.
  1. Multimedia Content – Shoppers desire a content-rich experience while making purchase decisions. They want to be informed, yet entertained at the same time. However, content doesn’t start and stop online. Retailers can set themselves apart by enriching the in-store experience as well.
  1. Shopper Social Data Curation – Retailers will continue to create product offerings based on demand extrapolated from social data. With this information, retailers can make future inventory decisions.
  1. Smaller Store Footprints – The number of stores with reduced footprints will continue to surpass the “big box” retail environments. Smaller, specialty stores will gain market share at the expense of supercenters, malls and mass merchandisers. The product offerings in these smaller stores will be based on customer demand and preferences.
  1. Big Data and Analytics – Retailers will continue to leverage big data to maximize profits. Big data capabilities will enable dynamic, real-time pricing and customization of in-store products. Industry analysts predict big data initiatives will drive a significant portion of future IT investments.
  1. Mobile Shopping – Using e-commerce platforms to make purchases is nothing new. However, customers are migrating from the traditional laptop or desktop. To complete online purchases, shoppers are now using their smartphones and tablets. The shift to mobile devices is expected to accelerate in the years ahead.

The main themes going forward in the retail industry revolve around data-driven marketing and demand-driven execution. Forward-thinking retail organizations will develop strategies to address these trends and create competitive differentiators.

CyrusOne’s retail colocation solutions are designed to accommodate the specialized requirements of retail organizations. The company’s ability to rapidly deploy high-quality data center space and its reputation for customer service represent key factors in a retailer’s decision-making process.

CyrusOne’s Massively Modular® engineering approach offers deployment times that “data-center-in-a-box” solutions cannot match. The efficiency and speed with which CyrusOne can commission large data facilities enables retail customers to deploy quickly and not worry about future capacity constraints.

Continue to read the CyrusOne Blog for additional information on data center services for retail organizations.

Be ready when disaster strikes

Be readySpringtime can oftentimes bring the full fury of natural disasters to many areas of the country with storms, flooding, tornadoes, and worse. Is your business ready with a fool-proof, multi-facility disaster recovery (DR) plan?

Many enterprises are turning to colocation as a critical part of a disaster recovery plan to help mitigate their risks. Data center colocation can assist companies with:

With strategic data center locations around the world, best-in-class 24/7/365 security and services, CyrusOne is the DR choice trusted by nearly half the Fortune 20, and over 160 of the Fortune 1000.

Ensuring Effective and Secure Solutions Using Data Center Providers

Learn how SmartVault survived Hurricane Ike, and kept their systems up and running throughout a Gulf Coast disaster that put their DR plan to the test > Read CyrusOne’s Case Study

Access CyrusOne’s Industry Insights Blog to learn more about
Data center colocation and disaster recovery – 5 tips >

Balance your IT growth with data center solutions

Balance your IT growth with data center solutionsSmall and medium-sized businesses are evolving as they juggle increasing data loads, new applications, and security issues – usually without extra capital costs for maintaining or expanding IT infrastructure.

CyrusOne Express™ packages offer a variety of data center solutions for smaller businesses – with month-to-month contracts and exceptional service in state-of-the-art facilities. Best of all, pricing is extremely competitive.

Benefits of CyrusOne’s flexible Express package include:

  • No long term contracts needed
  • Pricing as low as $499/month per cabinet
  • Access to the National IX for robust, low-cost connectivity
  • High quality, enterprise-level data center space, at affordable prices
  • Room to expand as your business grows

The CyrusOne Market Place offers a self-serve option for smaller companies to secure their IT infrastructure in a highly reliable enterprise data center environment. Check out the CyrusOne Marketplace for small to medium-sized businesses, or contact a colocation specialist today at 1-866-297-8766, option 3.

Meet Your Mission, Reduce Costs, and Improve Operations

Enterprise Data CenterTalk to CyrusOne about options to fulfill the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative’s (FDCCI) goal, meet critical cost controls, lower expenses, and deliver exceptional data center reliability and uptime.

With more than 30 data centers globally, CyrusOne’s portfolio features facilities with proximity to federal agencies in Northern Virginia and San Antonio.

Learn how successful federal agencies leverage data centers for:

By implementing data center best practices, you can ensure your federal agency is positioned to meet their mission. Let CyrusOne be the answer for flexible and scalable data center solutions, proven technology and exceptional service.

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Requirements of a Federal Data Center

Requirements of a Federal Data Center

Federal agencies are under enormous pressure to reduce operating costs and energy consumption. In fact, the “Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative” requires them to do so. This initiative calls for 1,253 government-owned data centers to close by the end of 2015.

To comply with the consolidation mandate, many government agencies are turning to a colocation model for their data center operations. According to a DataCenter Dynamics report, cutting costs and improving IT efficiencies will require using outsourced data center services in many cases.

How Colocation Helps Meet Federal Data Center Requirements

After thoroughly analyzing current operations, IT decision-makers within government agencies can decide the best course of action. For example, some legacy applications and hardware might be able to be eliminated, saving money and improving operation. In other situations, agencies may be able to consolidate data center operations, reducing the total number of facilities.

In addition, when existing data center facilities become outdated, an agency can move to a colocation model to avoid huge capital expenditures in retrofitting the facility and bringing it up to current standards. Colocation can be the perfect solution for federal agencies pressured to achieve the mandated consolidation initiative.

Critical requirements for an outsourced federal data center operation include:

  • Cost Efficiencies – Colocation relieves budget constraints by offering a lower and more predictable monthly operating expense versus significant capital outlays every time the agencies look to acquire additional data center space and power. The agency also doesn’t need to staff facility personnel or pay to operate an entire data center.
  • Remove Assets from your Balance Sheet – given that the government doesn’t pay taxes, there is no benefit to depreciating assets. Leveraging colocation allows agencies remove the assets and migrate to operating expense driven model.
  • Control – IT staff in federal agencies won’t need to give up their control over IT. Colocation allows them to maintain control over their hardware and applications without having to worry about maintaining an advanced data center facility.
  • Disaster Recovery – In an experienced provider’s data center, IT infrastructure can be protected from man-made and natural disasters. Government operations require 100% redundancy at all times.
  • Availability – The government cannot just shut down during a disaster or for routine maintenance. In a reliable data center, colocation solutions can be engineered for 2N power levels, which offers the highest power redundancy architecture.
  • Compliance – A colocation facility can provide a production and disaster recovery platform to meet regulatory requirements, including FISMA, Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA and PCI.
  • Carrier-Neutral Connectivity – A colocation provider with a National Internet Exchange (IX) is a unique solution government agencies should seek. A National IX virtually links data centers across multiple metropolitan markets.
  • Scalability – When a government agency needs more capacity, it has room to expand within a colocation facility. Scaling operations up or down can be achieved quickly and cost effectively.
  • Multi-Level Physical Security – Given the importance of federal agency operations, a colocation facility must offer the most stringent physical security features. Military grade features including onsite security guards, video surveillance, biometric and keycard access control, secured doors, reinforced physical infrastructures and dedicated space ensure virtually zero threat of unauthorized access.
  • Partnership – Federal agencies need a colocation provider that understands how the government operates and the requirements that must be met. When an experienced provider manages heating, cooling, power and physical security, government agencies can focus on managing IT infrastructure and serving constituents.

CyrusOne’s colocation solutions are designed to accommodate the specialized requirements of a federal data center. Continue to read the CyrusOne Blog for additional information on data center services for government agencies.


Top Issues Facing the Financial Services Industry

453887503The recent “Great Recession” has caused turmoil across the country for consumers and businesses alike. The financial services industry has been especially hard-hit. Although financial institutions deal with recurring industry issues every year, they now operate in a new economic context after the financial crisis.

Some of the issues financial institutions face today include:

  • Promoting growth and sustaining profitability in an environment with low interest rates
  • Rebuilding asset quality and strengthening capital positions
  • Developing new and reliable sources of revenue
  • Increasing the business value of customer relationships, especially when customers have become more demanding
  • Restoring public confidence in the industry
  • Competing with aggressive, innovative non-traditional competitors
  • Incorporating a risk management culture into daily operations

On top of these challenges, financial institutions must deal with regulatory issues, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, regulators continue to implement risk management reforms, like Dodd-Frank, that are designed to create greater transparency and stability in the global banking system. This new environment changes how financial institutions run their businesses and especially how they measure and manage risk.

Technology can help banks and other financial institutions address these industry issues. However, keeping up with technological innovation presents a challenge by itself. According to a PwC CEO Survey, nearly 60% of industry leaders view the speed of technological change as a threat to their growth prospects.

The rapid shift in technology and customer expectations require financial institutions to address projects such as:

  • Mobile Banking – Financial institutions have to develop and implement new digital delivery strategies to remain competitive. At a minimum, they must incorporate mobile banking as a regular delivery channel.
  • Next-Generation Platforms – Many financial institutions rely on legacy systems to conduct operations. To address the issues facing the industry, financial institutions need to quickly migrate their old technology architectures to next-generation capabilities. Viewing new technology as a strategic growth investment rather than an operational expense will demonstrate the value of IT systems throughout an organization.
  • Cyber Security – The PwC CEO Survey found more than 70% of industry leaders believe cyber insecurity is a threat to growth. The ongoing news reports of data breaches at retailers highlight the danger all businesses face.

CyrusOne’s colocation solutions are designed to accommodate the diverse requirements of financial institutions and help provide a strong foundation for industry challenges.


With Millions at Stake, Downtime Is Not an Option

financial-unnamed2To compete successfully in an increasingly complex industry, financial enterprise IT environments must remain agile while adhering to strict process discipline.

Managing sophisticated applications and IT infrastructure requires scalable, innovative, and reliable data center solutions.

By providing top-tier data centers with low-cost and robust interconnection between facilities, CyrusOne can help you effectively manage the unprecedented explosion in data with:

Call today and let CyrusOne help your firm develop a scalable data center environment and best-in-class security to effectively balance consumer, compliance, and IT needs in the most seamless manner possible.

For more information, read CyrusOne’s executive report, “4 Critical Steps Financial Firms Must Take for IT Uptime, Security, and Connectivity.”

Best practices in colocation ensure financial firms are positioned for success. Learn more

How Successful Financial Services Firms Leverage Data Centers to Solve Key Challenges

469753685Several types of businesses operate within the financial services industry, including banks, credit unions, insurance companies, investment houses and securities firms. Although these businesses may market different products and services, they have a major goal in common: provide the highest level of protection for every financial transaction. To provide this protection, financial services businesses rely heavily on data centers for uptime, security, connectivity and data integrity. To leverage a data center in today’s environment, financial services firms must consider the following: Overall Data Center Needs

  • Implement a twin core data center model for better protection
  • Focus on the highest levels of availability
  • Look for ways to consolidate applications, devices and data center locations
  • Map data centers to regulatory compliance framework changes 

Security Needs

  • Ensure high-end physical security enhancements to the data center facility
  • Develop a strategy and plan for protecting assets from cyber-attacks, including encrypting data in motion
  • Rely on partners instead of just vendors for third-party security services
  • Integrate management tools securely

Data Needs

  • Limit data exposure for providers and users
  • Use hybrid cloud applications
  • Use high performance computing for analytics
  • Address continued requirements to store data for longer periods of time

Disaster Recovery Needs

  • Focus on business continuity through a replicated site – disaster recovery solutions might not bring systems back on line quickly enough
  • Establish strategies for failover instead of recovery – users should not notice any recovery effort
  • Understand new audit processes and the increased demands for data availability
  • Prepare for and meet the industry’s growing compliance requirements

Networking Needs

  • Create new or parallel networks for limiting data exposure to outside hackers
  • Address latency concerns of trading applications
  • Use specialized back haul networks to send digitized data to replicated digital vaulting
  • Secure voice and data between headquarters and branch locations

In-house data centers aren’t always capable of meeting these requirements. However, colocation offers financial services firms an effective alternative for managing data, applications, regulatory requirements and customer demands. Colocation also reduces costs, increases flexibility and enhances security.

6 Ways Successful Healthcare Organizations Leverage Colocation 

6 Ways Successful Healthcare Organizations Leverage ColocationAlthough a healthcare organization’s primary directive is delivering quality patient care, it must also assume additional responsibilities. Providers need to comply with government mandates, manage a growing amount of data, maintain robust data security, provide uninterrupted access to IT resources, and connect networks of providers in real-time — all while keeping costs down.

Meeting these data center requirements take the focus away from a healthcare provider’s core activities. However, colocation services can help improve performance in a number of ways, such as:

  1. Complying with Government Mandates

As the federal government plays an increasing role in healthcare delivery, providers must rely on high-performing IT systems and data centers to ensure compliance. The HIPAA and HITECH acts outline regulatory standards for how electronic health records must be managed.

Data centers play an important role in protecting patient data and ensuring privacy. A HIPAA-compliant colocation provider can offer cost-efficient, high-performance solutions for medical centers, hospitals, clinics and private practice physicians.

  1. Accommodating the Growth in Data

The initiative to create electronic medical records along with requirements to store greater amounts of data for longer periods of time, depend on server and storage systems that can handle high-density operations. In addition, data must be shared among sites to improve patient care.

Colocation provides a foundation for the high-density environments needed to house the increasing amount of data used in healthcare operations.

  1. Improving Security and Privacy on Multiple Levels

A colocation data center designed for healthcare operations can offer the required network and physical security to ensure regulatory compliance. On a physical layer, colocation facilities provide access control features that tightly regulate who can enter the building, access the data center floor, maintain equipment and view server environments.

These security measures protect data from physical theft and maintain privacy by ensuring only authorized personnel view information. Secure networks also play a major role in colocation services by adding a key layer of logical protection to patient data.

Healthcare organizations my not have had to deal with such stringent security protocols in the past. The substantial cost, effort and expertise required to maintain a secure and compliant environment have caused healthcare providers to turn to colocation solutions.

  1. Ensuring Continuous Access to Data and Applications

HIPAA requires a risk assessment that incorporates a review of organizational assets, threats and vulnerabilities. With hundreds of applications running on legacy and new systems, continuous access can be difficult.

Colocation provides healthcare organizations more sophisticated and resilient data center resources than what they could typically manage internally. The power and network redundancy create a more reliable environment than most premise-based data centers.

  1. Providing Connectivity among Disparate Healthcare Sites

Healthcare organizations must have the ability to connect networks and health information in real-time. As more physician offices merge with larger healthcare providers, the IT environment will become more complex and the need for more interconnected data centers will grow.

A quality colocation solution will offer carrier-neutral Internet connectivity, site-to-site interconnection and a high availability Internet Exchange. Colocation connectivity also provides healthcare organizations with 24×7 real-time monitoring and utilization reporting.

  1. Eliminating Capital Requirements and Lowering Operating Expenses

Healthcare organizations operate in an increasingly complex environment. With the advent of health insurance exchanges, providers are faced with lower reimbursement rates and slower collections because of high-deductible plans. Complying with government reforms has created financial pressure and limited innovation across the industry.

As a result, healthcare organizations are looking for ways to improve functionality while reducing costs. They’re exploring other options for deploying and managing IT operations.

Colocation eliminates the huge capital costs involved in building, staffing and maintaining an in-house data center. Instead, healthcare organizations pay a monthly fee for data center space and services. If operational requirements change, a colocation solution can quickly, easily and economically adapt.

Colocation also reduces operating expenses. The cost of energy alone for an in-house data center facility can be twice as much as a typical office building. In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated healthcare organizations spent approximately $8.8 billion annually on energy. According to industry analysts, every dollar saved on energy translates to a $20 increase in revenues for hospitals and a $10 increase for medical offices.

CyrusOne’s colocation solutions are designed to accommodate the growing and diverse requirements of the healthcare industry. Learn more.