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How onshoring data centres is driving innovation in the UK

How onshoring data centres is driving innovation in the UK

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Rajesh Ganesan, President, ManageEngine, discusses what is driving UK data centre investment, the benefits ManageEngine’s new facilities will offer to UK customers seeking a local data centre and the importance of having a data strategy.

In the last few years, cloud adoption in the UK has been rapid, far outstripping other markets. At ManageEngine, we’ve seen 70% growth in cloud adoption year-on-year (YOY) since 2018, compared with 50% globally, and this acceleration in cloud adoption among UK customers has created more demand for local data storage. Post-Brexit, we’ve also seen increased demand from customers for data centres to be located in the UK to ensure data sovereignty and compliance with local regulations. 

Businesses are facing a host of challenges when it comes to their digital infrastructure. IT teams need to move operations to the cloud seamlessly while also adhering to the data privacy and security standards of the UK. More and more organisations are leveraging hybrid cloud computing and Edge Computing to achieve that seamless cloud transition and experience. But that, in turn, means intelligence at the edge — extended to every endpoint — is essential to securing enterprises against modern attacks. Easier said than done.

UK investment 

Extending intelligence to the edge of the network is among the key challenges ManageEngine is seeking to address through the opening of two new data centres based in and exclusively built for the UK — the company’s second-largest market, which experienced 25% YOY growth in 2022. These new centres will benefit UK businesses by helping them meet complex data security demands, with cloud security efforts for these sites focused on compliance, privacy, data leak prevention and endpoint security. 

The two ISO/IEC-27001-certified facilities will be located in London and Manchester, ManageEngine’s first data centres in the UK. They represent an investment of US$1 million and bring the total number of ManageEngine data centre sites globally to 16.

Hosted by Equinix, the data centres will offer enhanced data security, with all the necessary SOC, ISO and PCI DSS certifications to ensure data is stored securely and in compliance with both UK-wide legislation and industry-specific standards. They’ll be fully secured, employing security processes like full-disk encryption to protect data and prevent unauthorised access at the hardware level. Additional controls, like anti-DDoS strategies, will also mitigate cyberattacks.

One data centre will function as a Disaster Recovery site and both sites will host significant ManageEngine products to improve businesses’ IT performance, including ServiceDesk Plus Cloud (for IT and enterprise service management) and Endpoint Central Cloud (for unified endpoint management and security). Finally, we use advanced tools like OpManager to ensure we’re effectively managing infrastructure and to identify where we can take steps to improve operations, leading to a more efficient and sustainable data centre.   

Prioritising innovation

ManageEngine is one of the many Indian technology companies doubling down on investment in the UK for the simple reason that UK businesses have a long track record of adopting high-quality tech to drive innovation. This cultural focus on driving forward and using the right tools to enable better performance and smarter workflows has remained throughout both the COVID-19 pandemic and the regulatory upheaval of Brexit — but those two seismic events have driven rapid change in the needs and work styles of companies across the country. 

Cloud computing is long past its buzzword phase — industry experts predicted, witnessed and confirmed the dominance of the cloud years before the first lockdown. But when it came time to put the cloud to use following the COVID-19 lockdowns, many businesses were behind on the trend, still running on-premises apps and servers to service a workforce which, despite the gradual growth of remote working, was by and large office-based. The cloud played a role for these companies, but most often in a hybrid capacity. 

As we all know, COVID-19 forced that to change within a matter of weeks, if not days. Suddenly, every single critical business function had to operate perfectly from anywhere — with all the attendant security requirements intact. The cloud’s moment had come and demand for secure, highly available, low-latency cloud services skyrocketed.

Through all this, for British companies, Brexit was an unknown on the horizon. When the withdrawal agreement was finalised and the trade deal with the EU was ratified, another new world popped into existence almost overnight. A regulatory wall fell down the English Channel and data sovereignty suddenly became priority number one.

The right infrastructure lights the touchpaper

As a result, investment in onshoring data centres has come to the forefront. Local provisioning has become crucial not only for compliance but also for innovation. For ManageEngine, this is a responsibility we take very seriously. 

When we build a new data centre in a particular region, we make sure it’s completely managed by our teams rather than going through any public cloud providers or third parties, because of how important data privacy and data sovereignty are. The hardware, the middleware, the applications and the entire stack are completely annexed and built by us, so we have absolute control and we can provide the assurance that it’s completely safe and secure.

Ultimately, businesses need to have a data strategy that considers cloud, Edge Computing and data sovereignty requirements, which in turn will require more data centre capacity. That’s why investments like these new data centres are so important — they ensure that the infrastructure is there to enable businesses to stretch out, innovate and scale, securely pushing the envelope and better serving their customers.  

And don’t just take my word for it. One of our customers, Lex Harris, Global Service Manager of Group IT at Inchcape Shipping Services, commented: “New UK data centres are a welcome development that will help us maintain data flow and provide reassurance that the data we have in the UK complies with local regulations. With ManageEngine, we’ve been able to ensure smooth sailing; we’ve received robust, reliable, competitively priced service that has helped increase our performance capabilities and streamline processes.”

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