The data centre industry and colocation market is a competitive – sometimes commoditised – one, where countless vendors shout about themselves to see who can be heard loudest. So in a market where customers have such choice, it can be hard to differentiate fact from fiction and the reality from the marketing spin. Perhaps this is why third party validation can help end users to rise above the noise and clamour of the market to make informed decisions. Earlier this month we at Colt learned that our hard work and commitment has been recognised by the renewal of the Uptime Institute Management & Operations ‘Stamp of Approval’ at our London 2 Powergate data centre. The ‘Stamp of Approval’ is just one award in a trophy cabinet of achievements which act as testament and validate our passionate belief that Colt’s colocation facilities are second to none.The Uptime Institute conducted an intensive audit which scrutinised how the facility is managed and operated, our data centre scored well above the institute’s average for M&O stamped facilities. The audit included five categories and took into consideration everything from processes for servicing equipment and investment in training through to the effectiveness of communications amongst staff and subcontractors.Our recent research confirms that 30% of data centre decision makers believe that risk mitigation is a key element to ensuring business objectives can be met in the next two years. Interestingly, studies have shown that human error is the main risk to data centre downtime, the Uptime Institute databases reveal that 70% of unplanned data centre outages are caused by operator error. Therefore a rigorous operations and management programme, led by a highly qualified team striving for continuous improvement, is essential in the data centre in order to mitigate this risk and ensure uptime. This M&O Stamp of Approval gives our customers an added level of reassurance that when they buy Colt’s data centre services, they are buying operational excellence and safeguarding the integrity of their business-critical applications and data.It’s been two years since we became the first data centre operator in Europe to be awarded the M&O Stamp of Approval for our flagship London 3 site. In the same year we were awarded the same certification for our London 2 data centre facility. The renewal of the M&O Stamp of Approval proves that our facility continues to lead the way in achieving uptime, obtaining maximum leverage of the installed infrastructure and design, improving the efficiency of operations and realising opportunities for energy efficiency.