Some companies are vacating their offices for good. Having survived months where their employees were forced to work remotely due to COVID-19, they have decided to Work From Home (WFH) permanently. Of course, this is being done to save the expense of leasing an office. The savings can be significant as office space in Connecticut can cost $5,000 per year per employee or more.
What about the servers? Over the past few years many office applications have migrated to the Cloud. Office 365 and Google Workspace have supplanted word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software that once resided on local servers at the office. There are Software as a Service offerings for accounting (Quickbooks, Freshbooks), CRM (Salesforce, Hubspot CRM), and a myriad of other applications that run on the Cloud.
The challenge remains for servers that are required for those workloads that are not suitable for the Cloud. Proprietary applications, large frequently accessed databases, and workloads that demand a high degree of security are best kept on local servers. These servers must find a new place to call home now that offices are being shuttered.
Some businesses may be considering moving these servers into the home of one of their employees. It could be the home of an IT manager or a senior executive. Though this may be an expedient solution, it is a poor choice for a variety of reasons that can increase the chance of an outage and/or a security breach. It can also lead to compliance problems.
Electrical power is typically less reliable at a residence than at an office. Though a UPS system can be installed at home and some homes even have their own back-up generators, the odds of losing power are greater at a residence than at an office. This is because there are more trees in residential areas. There are more squirrels too! Trees, squirrels, and other creatures are frequently to blame when power is disrupted.
Servers require certain environmental conditions for optimal performance. Temperature and humidity must be kept within prescribed ranges. Adequate air flow and low levels of dust and other airborne contaminants are essential. Typically, residences are not designed with servers in mind. Whereas rooms can be temperature controlled and humidifiers and air purification systems can be installed, it can be very costly to retrofit a home to create a suitable space for servers.
Internet connectivity at home can also be a problem. Most homes are only served by a limited number of Internet Service Providers. Internet connections to the home are more exposed to disruption than at the office (trees and squirrels again). Though anyone contemplating locating their servers at a residence would certainly want to order an additional internet circuit for business use only, the temptation to use the office internet to watch a game while the family binges on Netflix on the residential internet service could be overpowering.
Which brings up the subject of security. Locating company servers at home undoubtedly increases the risk of a data breach. Blurred lines between company and home networks is one problem. Employees accessing the internet via WiFi at home is risky. Compromised home networks can provide an entry point into corporate systems.
Finally, access for other employees is a big problem when company servers are moved to a home. Family life is stressful enough during the Pandemic. Imagine a visit to your home late at night by fellow employees to work on a server problem. Access to the home would also have to be provided whenever the homeowner went on vacation. This is not a good recipe for family harmony.
Fortunately, there is a far better solution – Colocation. Colocation is where IT systems are placed in a secure, highly redundant, and cost-effective data center that has been purpose-built to host a company’s servers. The CAPS’ data center in Shelton has served all of Connecticut and Westchester County for over 20 years. It is the perfect place for your servers if you close your office.