Data center investment strategies are critical to the lifeblood of financial services organizations. While finance firms have long used proprietary or third party data centers for information storage and business continuity, big data has given rise to a new set of complications and considerations. Not the least of these are a variety of regulatory and compliance measures that place restrictions on information storage and archival practices. New technologies, rising costs and data management issues are driving compatibility issues in traditional data center models, and financial services firms need to adapt.

Data management in finance is a problem with several moving parts that impact each other. Accumulating and storing data is a relatively straightforward issue, albeit a resource-intensive one. Under the traditional model, a firm would procure additional servers for its onsite facility or enlarge its third-party data center investment, either through colocation or leasing the provider’s equipment.

The deluge of data can make this approach prohibitively costly, forcing organizations to rethink their infrastructure approach, Wall Street & Technology editorial director Greg MacSweeney wrote. Firms with proprietary data centers now stand to save significantly by outsourcing its storage, architecture and management demands. A third-party data center can provide state-of-the-art server hardware, but more importantly has the infrastructure to deploy next-gen network solutions such as virtualization, which drastically reduces the amount of physical equipment needed to contain rising petabytes of data and information-crunching applications.

Working with a third-party data center provider also helps businesses tackle more rapidly moving targets – data integrity and compliance. Data quality and validation are some “small data” issues that grow more problematic as firms accumulate more information from a wider source pool, said software developer Oleg Komissarov, according to a recent FierceFinanceIT article.

Keeping data clean, complete and consistent is a tough task that requires powerful tools and a dedicated team. A managed data center services provider can help offer this level of attention. It can also help in compliance efforts, as any blind spots or inconsistency in information or reporting leave the door open for compliance issues to crop up. As big data expands and accelerates, financial services firms need their data centers to stay one step ahead.