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How 1 Company Discovered That Milwaukee Is The Safest Place To Store Data

Data Holdings data center

While phishing attacks and other cybersecurity threats are top concerns for companies that rely on constant, fast access to data to keep their operations running smoothly, ensuring the physical security of data is just as important as protecting it from online attackers. 

“Physical security should be a key aspect of any data resilience plan,” said Stacy England, vice president of operations at Data Holdings, which operates Milwaukee’s premier Tier III+ data center. “Storing data in a stable, secure, accessible location can help protect it against threats both online and off.” 

Data Holdings has designed, built and is operating such a facility, England said. Located west of downtown Milwaukee, Data Holdings’ data center is in a zone with zero seismic activity, away from flood paths, flight paths and railroad lines, and it is just a quick ride from Chicago. 

Bisnow spoke with England and Data Holdings Chief Financial Officer Paul Hoesly about the data risks businesses face and the unique benefits the Data Holdings facility has to offer clients in the Midwest and beyond. 

Bisnow: What security challenges do companies and their data face today? 

England: Major risks are not only coming from malicious external attackers, but also from within companies themselves. Internal parties may have their own malicious intents, or they may simply make an unintentional mistake that could put the whole company at risk, like falling for a phishing scheme. 

Either way, companies need to plan to protect themselves and maintain operational continuity. First, they should identify crucial business data that is most in need of protection, and then create an adaptable plan for the physical and digital security of the data. 

Bisnow: What steps does Data Holdings take to ensure that client data always remains secure as both physical and cybersecurity threats evolve? 

England: People may believe their data is stored in the cloud, but it still has to be hosted somewhere physical. Those physical locations have to be kept safe from both intruders and natural disasters. 

The Data Holdings facility provides a high level of physical security to our clients through fencing, keycard and biometric access controls, video systems and an around-the-clock on-premise security team. Additionally, our unique facility design ensures that data can be recovered in the wake of a disaster. 

We also have strong relationships with our power provider that has allowed us to negotiate significant reductions to our power rates for incremental growth for current and new customers. Our power provider is a ReliabilityOne National Award winner and received Midwest Awards for Outstanding Reliability Performance.  

Bisnow: Why did you choose Milwaukee? 

Hoesly: Milwaukee is in the center of a high-density population hub with diverse economic activity stretching west to Madison, north to Green Bay and Appleton and south to Chicago. With current fiber, it takes less than a millisecond to transfer information to downtown Chicago, an hour’s drive away. 

We have the ability to expand within our current building as well as on adjacent land. The strong relationships we've built within the community will allow for the approval of future expansions. 

Also, due to our location, we have 100% tax-free status — no property, income or sales taxes, and no user fees. These tax advantages are permanent, not conditional on job creation or other arrangements with governmental entities and we pass those benefits on to our clients. 

Bisnow: How does your facility cater to businesses outside of Wisconsin?   

Hoesly: Our low cost of service, excellent fiber connections, networking partners and Tier III+ design allows us to have the capacity to expand our operations to serve companies far beyond Milwaukee. We have data from companies in our building who are based as far away as Scandinavia.

Our LEED Gold-certified building has boasted 100% uptime performance for the entire existence of the facility. All of our redundant diesel power generations systems are routinely tested to ensure their availability, but these systems have not been called upon to replace the main power supply service since the Data Center’s opening in 2014.

For smaller clients, we can provide solutions in just hours or days and for large customers, we can quickly build custom dedicated data suites in a few weeks. We pride ourselves on our ability to be flexible to meet our customers’ needs.

Stacy England will be speaking at Bisnow's Midwest Data Center Investment Conference & Expo on Sept. 17. Register here for the event. 

This feature was produced by Bisnow Branded Content in collaboration with Data Holdings. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.