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COVID-19 Response: Tips for Data Centers

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus Disease a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’, leading to a standstill across many industries. While it continues to be recognized as an outbreak, practising social distancing and maintaining hygiene are the only ways to contain this pandemic, as attested by experts. And not just personal hygiene, but maintaining the hygiene of your surroundings, too. 

In these complicated times, let’s do our best to keep trouble at bay and action the following steps to ensure health and safety:

Devise a clean room policy

Given how tense the situation is now, a clean room policy should be initiated to ensure that people who enter the server room must sanitize themselves before and after leaving the room. Moreover, it is highly recommended that a cleaning professional be hired to disinfect the whole room, even if it is a room that has only a few visitors. Follow this up with periodic cleaning of external surfaces that are frequently touched and exposed.

Implement your disaster/emergency recovery plan

A pandemic may not have been on your mind when you created recovery plans for your data center. Therefore, in the interest of time, use any other disaster or emergency plan that you may already have in place. You will need to make changes to the plan to adapt it to the current scenario, but it will work out a lot faster than if you had to prepare a brand new plan altogether.

Ensure VPN connectivity

With so much emphasis on self-quarantining, work-from-home has become the norm. To make sure continuity is not lost when users are distributed across locations, you will need to stress-test your VPNs. Doing this will also keep you prepared for when you are completely unable to staff the data center and will need to remotely access your operating/building management systems.

Keep two IT response teams ready

As much as possible, handle all issues remotely – without having your teams travelling from one site to another. Have two, not one, teams ready to handle any technical escalations and detect issues in the midst of this pandemic. Let one team handle escalations for two weeks, and then the next take over. This will give each team a period of two weeks to self-quarantine themselves while issues continue to be taken care of. Ensure that there is a protocol in place for both teams to take proper protective measures while on duty.

With offices and institutes shut temporarily, the entire dynamics of an office environment is now almost completely digital. With more work online, the load on data centers and IT staff is only going to increase. Work together (remotely), adhere to all the guidelines, and do your bit to stay safe and keep the community safe!

Hardy Racks wishes you and your team good health and safety during these times!


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