Business Elite Awards 2022

25 | Business Elite 2022 51 | Q1 2021 Feb22527 Reimagining Office Space Rebuilding the world of work after a difficult time can seem daunting however, VIRTUS Data Centres has everything you need to keep you covered. Here we speak to its Managing Director, Darren Watkins, as it wins Most Outstanding Data Centre Provider, 2022. Recent global events have brought unprecedented challenges, particularly to small and medium sized enterprises. But organisations around the world have acted swiftly to safeguard employees and deployed new ways of working to stay connected, productive, and resilient. And now SMEs are using the lessons from this large-scale, enforced, workfrom-home trial to reimagine how to work and what role offices should play in innovative ways. For some SMEs this has meant a wholesale shift to remote working, giving up expensive, unnecessary office space and making huge savings in real estate rental fees. Others have turned to a hybrid environment, where offices are kept, but slimmed down and reorganised or redesigned, and on-premises work is seamlessly combined with the ability to work from home. The defining factor is change. What is clear is that there is no one-size-fitsall solution. The answer, different for every SME, will be based on what roles are needed to be office-based, how much collaboration is necessary and where offices are located today. However, there is one essential consideration that applies to all, and that’s how to deal with the technology challenge of any enduring change to the workplace. What is often mistakenly overlooked, is the positive impact that IT can have on these strategic decisions. Almost all small, medium and large organisations will have a data centre of some sort. It could be anything from a few servers in a small room, to an entire floor of an office building or a warehouse full of servers – all taking up valuable office space. Rather than maintaining and managing the IT infrastructure onsite, a more efficient way to maintain the “data centre” – whatever the size – is to house it in a third-party colocation facility. Outsourcing the IT conundrum Colocation is the practice of housing privatelyowned servers and networking equipment in a third-party data centre. Instead of the in-house scenario where servers live within a room or a section of an organisation’s own business infrastructure, there is the option to “colocate” equipment by renting space in a colocation data centre (or third-party data centre). This not only frees up office space to be used more effectively or even disposed of, but it also brings additional benefits such as cost savings, increased sustainability and flexibility, access to high levels of bandwidth, greater reliability, and high level security physical protection. While everyone within an organisation has been challenged during the last two years, a huge bulk of the work fell on the IT specialists who had to ensure their colleagues had the tools required to successfully migrate to a safe remote environment. And one of the biggest questions for those planning a long-term shift is where to house IT infrastructure. Colocation comes in here – and it isn’t just for large national and multi-national enterprises. Colocation services include networking, physical security, power, and cooling components, as well as crucial years of expertise a provider has in managing business critical infrastructure – meaning that the smooth running of a company’s IT is safeguarded for the long-term, whatever their needs. For SMEs who want to streamline their physical presence, colocation can free up valuable office space, creating more room for hot-desks and meeting rooms. However, there are plenty of good reasons to migrate data servers from on-premises infrastructure, even for an office that’s not going down the fully or partly remote route – most notably enabling cost efficiencies and improving performance such as 100% uptime. Why colocation? The plus points of colocation are significant. Not only can organisations capitalise on the knowledge of specialist providers and enjoy best of breed performance and efficiencies such as power and cooling, having IT assets in a colocation facility allows fast, easy connectivity to the cloud services which are almost certainly a part of any remote working strategy. Simply put, the robust, reliable data centre interconnect infrastructure will enable businesses to set up and access the remote and hybrid working world far more quickly than using in-house IT. What’s more, colocation allows companies to expand or reduce their infrastructure to fit the needs of their growth without having to take on capital expenditures. Indeed, colocation data centres offer IT teams a measure of agility it otherwise may not have – crucial in this uncertain environment where it’s not just growth that companies need to be prepared for, but their operations getting smaller, too. This new mix of working from home and office work is likely to be here for the foreseeable future, and it will place increasing demands on the infrastructure of today and tomorrow. Such a radical shift in ways of working is an opportunity to re-evaluate the IT infrastructure and the cost of moving IT equipment shouldn’t be a blocker to finding the best solution for a business. To build an optimised IT infrastructure, and to help quickly reimagine the world of work, now is the time for SMEs to consider decoupling technology from the office working environment and migrating the complex business of managing the in-house servers to a specialist colocation provider. Contact: Darren Watkins, Managing Director of VIRTUS Data Centres Company: VIRTUS Data Centres Website: