The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated digitalisation across the globe. Characterised by strict social distancing measures and remote working, this new era of safety has forced many businesses to rethink how it can deliver services, in an efficient and safe manner. The data centre industry is no exception.
While we expect the data centre industry to remain fairly insulated against the pandemic, it should not stop management from revisiting operational practices. The first order of business should be a review of all business continuity planning practices. All data centres should have up to date plans in place that are frequently tested against things such as outages, flooding and other forms of natural disaster. For those looking for guidance, the Government’s National Risk Register, is an excellent resource.
The second order of business should be to allocate greater resources to the training and development for staff. Despite data centre staff being classed as essential workers, social distancing measures are likely to be enforced for a considerable time, limiting the presence of staff on the data centre floor. Not only would this account for site staff but would also limit access for third party suppliers.
Management should put in place plans to manage this on a long-term basis and one option could be to upskill staff to take on more responsibility when it comes to the maintenance and management of its facilities. We would not be surprised to see operators allocating greater resources support this, enabling core staff to take on a bigger role than they might have previously had.
The fallout from COVID-19 will undoubtedly push data centre operators to think more innovatively, particularly when it comes to reviewing how internal management and maintenance practices are carried out across the data centre floor. Getting suppliers into a facility may become much more controlled, meaning data centre management teams will need to think more strategically to how they can get more out of their on-site staff.
Ultimately, COVID-19 has brought about profound, irreversible changes to the world. Many organisations greatly accelerated their digital transformation aspirations, moving swiftly to online services as the crisis took hold. This has meant the data centre and cloud industry is likely to remain on solid footing as we ride out the remainder of the pandemic and beyond. But this should not stop management teams from reviewing their operational practices in order to better support customers and ensure resilience and availability.