How does the data centre remain resilient during a pandemic?

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How does the data centre remain resilient during a pandemic?

By Nadene Facey

The Pandemic has caused many difficulties for businesses across the globe and a huge responsibility has been placed on those essential to maintaining critical infrastructure. Through difficult times the data centre has had to remain as resilient as ever as well as adapt to new increasing demands.

Some data centres are struggling and, in some cases, failing to maintain the levels of service and resilience provided prior to the Pandemic. Robust Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity Plans (BCP) are vital in the preparation for incidents that could cause disruption to the business and cause negative impact.   

How has Custodian responded during the COVID19 pandemic?

Custodian has built resilience into the data centre and across the business from day one. Our focus has always been to provide our customers with a reliable service and a fully resilient environment for their IT infrastructure. We have reviewed our operational procedures in response to the Pandemic and adapted a few key areas to ensure that we follow government guidelines and provide the same levels of service and assurance to our customers that we remain as resilient as we have always been.

Ensuring the safety of staff and customers.

In order to maintain the highest standards across the business, we have worked in tandem with local authorities and industry experts to ensure our risk assessments continue to protect both our employees and customers effectively throughout the Pandemic.

Our staff are key to the successful running of our data centre. Our Compliance, Health and Safety & Office Management teams continue to monitor and maintain safeguarding measures to the highest standard across the business, whilst ensuring we can continue to deliver the first-class services expected by our customers.

Our NOC and Maintenance Teams are pivotal in the data centres day to day operations, and their presence physically onsite is essential. It was vital that we minimalised all contact with others wherever possible to ensure their safety and availability. All non-operational staff are working remotely, a strict cleaning regime is in place and PPE is worn at all times whilst onsite. To further ensure resilience we set up 2 individual NOC teams in separate locations within the data centre.

Further information on our cleaning regime and PPE provisioning can be found here www.custodiandc.com/covid19

Ensuring staffing resilience.

Although we are confident that dividing of our NOC teams will provide adequate resilience we have taken extra steps to ensure a ‘fail’ safe is in place should the worst happen. Dedicated resource has been working remotely since the start of the Pandemic, ensuring that we always have additional resource available across both teams at all times. This additional layer of resource provides reassurance and security that we are always on-hand for our customers regardless of the challenges the Pandemic may bring.

Minimising human access and contact.

In contrast to our usual access policy, we have introduced several measures over the last 9-12 months to help mitigate and plan effectively for access to the data centre. Our newly introduced booking system has enabled us to effectively manage footfall in the Data Centre whilst still guaranteeing access when customers need it. This system allows us to manage internal resource to deep clean after each visit and ensure a safe environment for our customers when onsite.

That said, we have recommended where possible that our customers use our comprehensive remote hands service to reduce their need to travel to site and this service has been provided free of charge during this time. We are pleased to see that this is being regularly utilised and having a positive impact on reducing visits.

Resilience built into the supply chain

As part of our BCP and DR plans we have always ensured that we have contracts and robust SLAs in place with multiple 3rd party suppliers to provide access to essentials parts and fuels required to keep our data centre infrastructure always on. We have full confidence in our abilities to lean into these services at any time should the need arise. To further bolster our existing measures, we have taken this opportunity to increase our internal stock holding of many essential and non-essential parts, so that we can continue to meet customer demand.

Maintenance within the Data Centre

Our Maintenance Teams have seen some adjustments to their usual plans as we have prioritised essential maintenance to our critical systems vs. non-essential tasks previously scheduled. This has afforded extra time to triple check all of our infrastructure from generators to security systems, our teams have prioritised these areas to ensure the Data Centre continues to operate as ‘normal’ despite any changes the Pandemic may cause. We have taken additional steps to expand our internal maintenance teams to increase our capabilities and capacity during this period, further reducing our need for external resource. This pragmatic approach has enabled us to continue to deliver the high-quality service our customers expect without compromise.

How has Custodian coped with the increase in network traffic?

As a Data Centre responsible for critical infrastructure our approach has always been to be pro-active rather than re-active to changes in demands. We continually invest in improving and upgrading our network infrastructure. This approach has ensured that we have ample capacity to accommodate increases in network traffic and requests from customers should the need arise and all Custodian customers have access to dual feed connectivity as standard to ensure resilience. By forward planning and our continued focus on improvements, our core network has and will continue to provide the highest level of availability even during these unpredictable times.

On-going reviews, of our BCP and DR plans have been vital in ensuring we stay safe and mitigate risks wherever possible. Forward planning, flexibility and our strong values in maintaining resilience throughout the data centre have been key to maintaining an uninterruptable service. We are confident that with the changes we have put in place in response to the Pandemic, we will continue to provide our customers the resilience and first-class service they have come to expect.

If you would like to find out more, please contact our team at info@custodiandc.com