Data Center Facility Management: Navigating COVID-19

Earlier this year, the unprecedented rise of COVID-19 shook business operations worldwide, testing businesses across all sectors on their ability to support a stable workflow in the face of a pandemic. While most industry verticals struggled to stay afloat, the data center industry has established its readiness to meet the on-demand needs and remote connections required by today’s global economy. 

Today, uncertainty is growing alongside an increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases. It’s a crisis that’s shining a light on fragmented and ill-equipped disaster recovery/business continuity plans as companies settle into a ‘new normal’ of business. As the world continues to move daily operations online, how are data center facility management teams navigating COVID-19 in order to keep their operations running? 

According to John Ducic, SVP of Critical Facility Management and Operations, T5’s navigational plan started by “taking a comprehensive look at what we had to work with from the start.” Since the company is an industry leader in critical facility management, Ducic was confident in T5’s existing emergency action and business continuity plans. However, in anticipation of rising uncertainty, T5 took an additional step and formed a cross-functional Crisis Management team to lead the charge in bracing for impact. 

Updated Policies & Procedures

Mission critical facilities rely on highly specific processes to ensure seamless IT deployment and migration, low redundancy and secure connectivity – much of which is handled by an on-site IT or remote hands staff. Because CDC guidelines require social distancing and make all non-essential workers remote, facility managers were forced to update existing policies and re-evaluate critical operations. Not only does this reduce the presence of on-site staff as facility management navigates COVID-19, but it underscores other high-risk considerations like uptime, continuous availability, and cooling among others. 

Socially Distanced IT 

While many workers were able to seamlessly adopt a work-from-home environment, Ducic reports that the most important consideration for facility management navigating COVID-19 is maintaining on-site employees—while also supporting their health and safety. “While some operations can safely move remote, you have to have people on the ground to perform preventative maintenance and server updates, mitigate risks of downtime and outages – the implications of an IT-less critical facility presents major threats,” says Ducic. 

Relying on guidance from industry leaders as well as government officials, T5 was able to adopt social distancing protocols for essential workers and dispatch management to sites on an as-needed basis. In addition to limiting essential activity, steps to ensure the protection of staff, vendors and customers include increasing cleaning protocols, reducing physical contact between people and quarantining symptomatic workers.

Finding a New Normal

One of the largest impacts that have come from widespread shelter-in-place orders is the increase in data network traffic. Looking at Zoom alone, the web conferencing application saw an increase in 190 million users in just four months. As web traffic increases, facility management teams navigating COVID-19 must put security at the forefront of their disaster recovery and business continuity plans. This is especially crucial as the threat of cyberattacks – made more likely by fragmented security protocols and insecure connectivity – blankets the industry. 

As businesses worldwide shift into a new normal of online operations, it’s increasingly important to rely on a data center partner that’s equipped to quickly adapt to changing environments. Led by John Ducic, T5’s Crisis Management team works continuously to ensure the proper protocols and processes are up-to-date and flexible, giving T5 a unique edge to handle today’s unprecedented threats and challenges. 

With a proven team dedicated to ensuring low risk, continuous uptime in any environment, T5 is proud to be a leader in critical facility management navigating COVID-19. See what our FM services can offer you, or contact our team and learn more

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