Data centre operators are facing a number of COVID-19 related challenges but the main one is to limit routes for infection whilst providing continuity of service. Operators are very concerned about access to sites in the event of a lockdown, so techUK has been lobbying hard on behalf of the industry.
The good news is that, thanks to swift and decisive action by DCMS, the list of key workers published by Cabinet Office and the Department for Education on Thursday 19th March 2020 explicitly included Data Infrastructure: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
DCMS has also established a dedicated team for the data centre sector: The DCMS Data Infrastructure Resilience Team. They understand the critical role that data centres play and are ensuring that this is understood across government. The team is expecting questions and has already established a mailbox: COVIDemail@example.com for queries from data centre operators, customers and suppliers.
techUK is continuing to work closely with DCMS and our immediate focus is to ensure access for critical staff in the event of tighter restrictions on movement without compromising government objectives to restrict anything but essential activity. We are compiling a list of key roles together with justification. We are also looking at longer term risks resulting from COVID-19 We are also helping to collate information from the sector to inform government decision making.
Operator catch-up calls are held at least once a week to compare notes, and regular bulletins are issued to keep everyone up to date.
Data Centre Sector: COVID-19 Bulletins
Digital Realty: https://www.digitalrealty.com/coronavirus-statement
PHE: Decontaminating non healthcare environments: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings
For further information on techUK’s data centres programme see our programme overview: https://www.techuk.org/insights/news/item/272-data-centre-programme-overview
Or visit our website https://www.techuk.org/focus/programmes/data-centres