Gert Duvenhage, COO of Paratus Group

While cognitive biases and trust issues might indicate that hosting your own ICT equipment and infrastructure is clever, the reality is that there is a major downside when you start adding up the associated costs and risks. Monthly operational and maintenance costs, security, and network connectivity are all challenges that need proper consideration.  So, if you’re using your onsite premises to house your ICT equipment, you need air conditioning to keep the equipment cool, backup power to keep them running, fire suppression to avoid damage and physical as well as CCTV security, to ensure that your ICT infrastructure and your business information remain available and safe.  This is one of the reasons why co-location data centers exist, and why the Data Center industry is booming all over the world, especially in Africa.  A co-location data center provides you with a purpose-built, temperature-controlled, and super-secure facility in which to co-locate your ICT equipment.  Co-location facilities are built with full resilience in mind. They give you 24/7 access to your infrastructure along with a wide range of on-site services, including workspaces and conferencing facilities, remote hands, and storage of critical equipment should you need them.

If you are not currently hosting in a co-location data center (DC) or if you don’t think you need one soon, to put it bluntly, your business could be at massive risk.  You need to be able to cope with the demands that the digital age will impose upon your business because we have already entered the digital age of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).  In essence, data centers are the key to unlocking more of your business potential.

It is no wonder that co-location DCs are growing fast in Africa.  According to, the data center market on the continent is forecast to more than double within the next three years alone (from around US$2 billion currently to more than US$5 billion in 2025).  Big global operators and hyperscalers have seen how commensurate with more and more of the continent being connected, businesses will need sophisticated co-location services.  Paratus, the African operator, has already built four DCs in three African countries and further capital has been raised to build and run more and more DCs to meet the ever-growing demand.

If data is your currency in business, then a co-location DC is your bank.  It acts like your fortress, giving you the thick walls, the ramparts, the bastions, and an iron-clad gate to defend your business against risks.  And the DC’s ‘watchtower’ is on the alert for all possible threats from afar.

Analogies aside, for a non-datacentric business, what’s key to understand is that gone are the days when you need everything under your own roof.  Much better to think beyond your own bricks and mortar and realise that you have the freedom to transact and do business anywhere in the world when you’re free of the constraints of managing the environment of your critical infrastructure.

A co-location data center protects your ICT equipment, which in turn means that all your data and business information is safeguarded.  The next logical step for any company wishing to sustain itself and remain relevant in the 4IR  is to choose a co-location DC that protects your ICT equipment and, by extension, your business information.

To handle in-house what a co-location DC offers, is very costly, time-consuming to manage, risky and beyond the expertise of most IT departments. To say it would be challenging to go at it alone and compete relevantly at the highest level in the digital age, to be active in the 4IR, would be an understatement. Even a die-hard non-datacentric business operator would be hard-pressed to argue against the benefits of hosting in a co-location DC.  Building an in-house facility is a particularly costly exercise, especially when considering the total cost of ownership over the first five years. Buying co-location hosting services from a third-party service provider is far more cost-effective, scalable and less risky. According to the Uptime Institute, it is estimated that using co-location services saves a business anything from 19% to 64% when compared to building and maintaining its own in-house (Tier II) data center. This is based on an in-house server room, rather than a full-size DC, containing three racks with 3kW of power per cabinet (i.e. a 9kW load with 30kW total power capacity) including some backup power, but no power redundancy.”

In short, the key benefits of a colocation DC are:

Safety – physical security for the building itself, including 24/7 on-site security guards, biometric fingerprint access control, self-sign-in kiosk, and full CCTV coverage to protect your ICT equipment 24/7

Power – fully redundant A and B power feeds with diesel backup generators and UPS systems for seamless failover.

Environmental control – essential cooling and humidity control of all DC equipment to keep the temperature constant with additional fresh air systems to ensure a dust-free environment.

Caged and uncaged cabinets – to accommodate all your equipment and offer scalability if you need to grow.

Compliance – ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and PCI-DCC certified with annual audits being performed.

Cost – you save on maintenance, staff, and space rental/upkeep, thereby minimising all the associated costs.

Post-Covid syndrome – IT departments have been stretched over the past couple of years to deliver a seamless service to employees and fully enable them – and the company – to operate efficiently.  Co-location DCs can help manage this complexity – the junctions, the crisscrossing of information sharing and the overall traffic system – so that while the world is disrupted, the business is not.

To be or not to be data-centric is no longer debatable, it’s just a question of when.  For information about the  technical aspects and all the services available from a data center right here in Africa, chat to Paratus which operates not only four carrier-neutral, ISO and PCI DSS-certified state-of-the-art one-stop solutions, but which is also the continent’s quality network provider.

Click here to learn more about Paratus.