Data centres and COVID-19 Update

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.  We are working closely with Government to ensure that data centres are factored in when key policy decisions are made.  This page summarises progress and provides links to information and other resources. 

techUK is committed to working with members and non-members as we seek to support the entire sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic via informed engagement with Government. We are publishing this content openly in order to facilitate that engagement and in the spirit of collaboration across the sector. Based on feedback from the sector we will continue to refine this material, which should not be regarded as definitive.

Key workers:  Data infrastructure is formally included in the key workers list published by Cabinet Office and the Department for Education on Thursday 19th March 2020.

Critical staff list: Government is not currently planning to issue a list of specific exemptions due to the risk of guidance being too narrow.  Employers therefore decide who their critical staff are.  Things may change, however, so we are working on a sector-specific list of critical staff.

Critical staff travel:   There is no formal requirement for documentation yet. However, widespread checks are in place and people are being stopped and questioned, so companies should issue staff with appropriate collateral (eg letters of authority plus ID).  

Letters of authority:  There is confusion about who issues these. Government is not currently planning to introduce authorisation letters but this may change depending on how well guidance is followed. It is therefore the responsibility of employers to issue staff with corporate letters of authority. 

Operational and economic risks: we are working on a risk timeline that covers operational risks and wider consequential risks from COVID-19 relating to data centres.

Government mailbox: DCMS has established a dedicated mailbox COVID-data-resilience@culture.gov.uk  for queries from data centre operators, customers and suppliers.

Government data centre team:  DCMS has established a dedicated team: The DCMS Data Infrastructure Resilience Team to ensure the sector is factored in when key policy decisions are made. They understand the critical role that data centres play and are ensuring that this is understood across government.  We are working very closely with them.

Catch-up calls: Operator catch-up calls are held at least once a week to compare notes.

FAQs: see our list of Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 and data centres 

Latest Bulletins and outputs:

26 May 2020: Bulletin 9

26 May 2020: Data Centres: COVID-19 call with DCMS on 22 May

21 May 2020: Data Centres and COVID-19: Position Statement​

21 May 2020: Challenges presented by quarantine (New version)

21 May 2020: Mental Health and Wellbeing​

19 May 2020: COVID-19 and Data Centres - What are we doing?

18 May 2020: Data Centres: COVID-19 call with DCMS on 15 May

14 May 2020: Recovery planning​ - Updated draft

14 May 2020: Data Centres: COVID-19 call with DCMS on 7 May

14 May 2020: Testing - more useful information sources shared by members

14 May 2020: Notes on challenges presented by quarantine​

14 May 2020: COVID-19 Protection Measures: PPE and General Guidelines

11 May 2020: Recovery planning and actions: Draft overview for your feedback

7 May 2020: Data Centres: COVID-19 call with DCMS on 1 May

30 April 2020: Data Centres and COVID-19: Key Worker Testing

27 April 2020: Bulletin 8

27 April 2020: Data Centres: COVID-19 call with DCMS on 24 April

27 April 2020: COVID 19 Precautionary measures

21 April 2020: Bulletin 7

21 April 2020: Data Centres: COVID-19 call with DCMS on 17 April

16 April 2020: Guest blog by Kurtis Lindqvist, CEO of London Internet Exchange (LINX): Internet traffic and the Coronavirus​

14 April 2020: Bulletin 6

14 April 2020: Data Centres: COVID-19 call with DCMS on 9 April

14 April 2020: International comparisons on CNI status​

9 April 2020: List of queries from DCMS about data centres with current status on responses​

8 April 2020: Indicative footfall and transport modes

6 April 2020: Bulletin 5

6 April 2020: COVID-19: Update for Data centres from DCMS

3 April 2020: Childcare and key worker absences​

31 March 2020: Further clarification on movement

30 March 2020: Bulletin 4

26 March 2020: Bulletin 3

23 March 2020: Bulletin 2

19 March 2020: Bulletin 1: Sector Position Statement

16 March 2020: COVID-19: Operational implications for data centres

 

Operator statements

Digital Realty: https://www.digitalrealty.com/coronavirus-statement

Equinix: https://www.equinix.com/lp/equinix-coronavirus-statement-to-customers-and-partners/

Equinix: https://blog.equinix.com/blog/2020/03/26/covid-19-protecting-our-critical-ibx-data-center-infrastructure/

London Internet Exchange (LINX): https://www.linx.net/linx-response-to-covid-19-coronavirus-threat/

UKCloud: https://ukcloud.com/hub/news/ukcloud-confirms-readiness-to-support-public-services-in-responding-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

VIRTUS: https://virtusdatacentres.com/general/covid-19-statement

4D Data Centres: https://www.4d-dc.com/insight/4d-data-centres-covid-19-latest-response-plan-statement

 

Useful URLs

Data centres and COVID-19: Our dossier: https://www.techuk.org/insights/news/item/17703-data-centres-and-covid-19-our-dossier 

WHO Guidelines: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Latest Advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

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 read 'What's the point of us?' and 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

  • Lucas Banach

    Lucas Banach

    PROGRAMME ASSISTANT | Financial Services & Payments, Electronics, Environment & Compliance, Data Centres, Digital Devices and Services and Membership team
    T 020 7331 2006
  • Emma Fryer

    Emma Fryer

    ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR | DATA CENTRES
    T 01609 772 137

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