Using a third party data centre provider in order to reduce costs could mean more challenges for CIOs, according to Nutbrook Group Engineering director Neil Shepherd.

Speaking at the CIO Summit in Sydney, Shepherd told delegates that CIOs are tasked with meeting current and future data centre growth while doing more with less.

"The importance of site due diligence is somewhat underestimated. People must make sure that the site matches the information they have in front of them," he said.

According to Shepherd, a site due diligence needs to involve more than examining the generator room and data halls.

"It's important to understand what the data centre does, how it works and the technical side as well. If that data centre is not being managed correctly, than that poses a risk.

"Because of the skills shortage, it is amazing to see how many data centre operators are implementing non-technical engineers and relying on third party contractors to manage the process."

Once the CIO has chosen a facility, heads of terms (HOTs) need to be examined before the contract is signed.

Shepherd said that the CIO should put in writing what they want so that when they meet with the data centre provider they can "push back" with their own HOTs rather than being dictated to.

He added that cyclical audits which examine power, cooling and security will ensure the CIO is still getting the service they are paying for.

According to Shepherd, there are a number of issues which are affecting data centres. These include the skills shortage, lack of business continuity plans and exclusion for liability from contracts.

"If there is one thing you can takeaway from this speech, it is to carefully look at service level agreements before signing up," he said.