Why You Need a Tier IV Data Center

Safeguarding your business' data and systems is crucial for a modern SMB. Find out why a Tier IV data center is important for your organization.

Blog Post

5 minutes

Dec 09, 2019

Many people incorrectly assume that cloud-based storage is only something that’s meant for large businesses with big budgets.

The reality is that the cost of adopting the cloud is going down for businesses of all sizes, and, as a result, adoption is exploding.

This is especially true among small companies with the total cloud services market expected to nearly double in the next couple of years.

So, what is driving this massive growth in cloud services? It all comes down to flexibility, scalability, and capability.

Small businesses need a service that can meet all of their needs today and grow with them in the future. Cloud services certainly check off all the boxes.

What is a Tier IV Data Center?

Data center tiers are broken down into four unique categories. Tier IV sits atop the pyramid and, simply put, are the most reliable data centers for businesses.

In this growing world of online business, there is money to be made at all hours of the day from people all around the world.

Downtime means that cash flow can come to a grinding halt.

With a Tier IV data center, businesses can expect consistent performance at all hours with just 26 minutes of downtime throughout the year.

This is accomplished with fully redundant infrastructure as well as extensive power outage protection that lasts up to 96 hours. Essentially, a Tier IV data center helps a business plan for the unplanned.

Infographic showing statistics about the four levels of data center tiers

Security Concerns in Cloud Computing

One of the main concerns brought up with cloud computing is security. This is a very valid concern as some types of cyberattacks have been rising at astonishing paces in recent years.

In the minds of some, being connected to cloud services means there could be more potential for attacks to occur. However, this is an unfortunate myth about cloud services.

Part of implementing a cloud services roadmap is to plan for cybersecurity. With the right services and management in place, security risks can be reduced and features like redundancy can help protect if an attack should occur.

For example, a ransomware infection could bring a business to its knees but, with redundancy through the cloud, data can be restored quickly and operations can be resumed.

Part of this cybersecurity plan also includes analyzing the devices within the business to ensure they are sufficiently secure for implementing a cloud services strategy. Security is essential at all levels of the business and cloud services are just an extension of standard security practices.

Cloud Data Centers vs. On-Premise

The debate about storage and operations typically boils down to cloud services versus on-premise data centers.

There are arguments to be made in favor of both options. For example, on-premise data centers are often the choice for businesses that need advanced customization. However, the cost can prove to be prohibitive.

With cloud data centers, the services are much more flexible and cost-effective. Businesses only need to pay for what they need and the services can quickly and easily scale with the company.

As the needs of the business grow, so can the cloud capabilities. This helps to explain why over half of small enterprises are accelerating cloud adoption moving forward.

It’s impossible to avoid the bottom line when running a business. This is even more true when it comes to small and medium-sized companies.

Cash flow simply may not be significant enough to manage on-premise data centers and, as a result, a cloud data center is a much more preferable option. Businesses can get many of the same capabilities at a fraction of the cost.

Graph showing the maximum annual downtime possible by data center tier in minutes

Is a Tier IV Data Center Right for You?

Not all small businesses need to immediately jump to the exceptional capability and reliability of a Tier IV data center right away.

The cost could prove to be significant when compared with lower-tier data centers. However, there may be some businesses that need the features and benefits of a Tier IV data center.

A business that invests substantially in SaaS (software as a service) needs almost uninterrupted availability for customers around the world may find it essential to secure the flexibility and reliability of Tier IV services.

Companies that also handle mountains of sensitive customer data may be attracted to the additional security and reliability benefits of a Tier IV data center.

Generally speaking, the businesses that require Tier IV are going to be comparing cloud-based services with in-house options.

This can ultimately boil down to cost. It may simply make more sense to choose cloud services when compared with much more costly in-house solutions.

Other businesses may be very well-served by a Tier III or Tier II data center. In many cases, Tier III services offer very similar downtimes to Tier IV services and can help a small business with a limited budget make the right decision.

The Hybrid Option

Of course, things aren’t always black and white. Businesses may not have to opt for one or the other when it comes to their data center.

In many cases, a hybrid solution may offer the best of both worlds. One example of this is when a business holds some sensitive data and some less sensitive data.

The confidential data can be stored in a Tier IV data center or on-premise data center while public data is stored in a less secure and more budget-friendly option.

This is a widespread solution among many businesses that are looking to optimize their operations and expenses.

It’s certainly not unusual to see enterprises to store data across multiple cloud-based data centers based on the type of data being stored and the unique requirements for each different type of data.


Ultimately, there is no cookie-cutter solution when it comes to choosing a data center. There are some crucial things to take into consideration:

  • Budget: This can be the determining factor for many businesses. In many cases, a hybrid solution of on-premise or multiple cloud data centers may be the right choice.
  • Security: Does the type of data being stored require the features and benefits offered by a Tier IV data center?
  • Flexibility and scalability: On-premise data centers are customizable but may lack the scalability needed from growing businesses. Can a cloud-based data center help alleviate this problem?


If you’d like more support selecting the right data center for your organization, please don’t hesitate to connect with an Impact specialist. You can also check out our IT eBook to learn more about how managed service providers can help growing businesses manage key IT operations.


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Additional Resources

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Does Your Business Need a Managed IT Service Provider?

Download this free eBook from Impact now! Learn what a managed IT services provider does, when it’s better than an in-house team, and if you should get one.

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What Makes a Good Cybersecurity Defense for a Modern SMB?

What should your cybersecurity defense strategy look like? Read our free eBook to gain a clear understanding of what security you need.

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