Anticipate the coronavirus risks your employees face.
1. Do a full assessment of construction, enhancements, maintenance schedules and anticipated repairs on your six-month horizon.
- Evaluate your maintenance schedule. Prioritize critical maintenance needs so your employees can focus on the most pressing issues first.
- Postpone non-essential maintenance, like infrared scanning and quarterly electrical power management system reviews, when possible.
- Reschedule high-risk testing, like black start/plug-pull tests, generator load ban tests, etc.
- Research and test options for remote monitoring and management of your data center as well as opportunities for automation.
- Procure an adequate back-stock of critical components to cover potential lags in supply chain availability. If you know you have equipment updates in your near horizon, order your parts or components early and don’t be surprised about delivery delays. Vendors may be dealing with reduced staff, shipping may be slow due to a substantial increase in the volume of direct deliveries and delivery movement may simply be restricted from area to area.
- Confirm that there have been no changes to the protocol for accepting deliveries at your data center facility (for example, that there is staff at the normal delivery access to accept shipments, store in a secure location and confirm delivery).
- Plan ahead to align maintenance and repairs into one trip to your data center.
2. Business travel restrictions based on coronavirus risks
- Find out whether your staff may be required to adhere to corporate travel restrictions.
- Check and conform to CDC travel notices and best practices.
- Confirm your data center location isn’t subject to government-imposed travel restrictions, and if it is, find out if your employees will need any type of documentation to confirm they are on commerce-related travel.
- Assess who on your staff is fit for travel. The health and safety of your employees and the people with whom they will interact should be your first priority. It is very important not to make assumptions. Find out if your employees have concerns, while of course being sensitive not to press for HIPAA-related disclosures. Know that concerns can range from a recent possible exposure that would make them a risk to others, suspecting early symptoms, health concerns that may make them immunocompromised, and even family responsibilities that make it difficult or impossible to travel.
- Identify the travel route with the least opportunity of employee coronavirus exposure (for example, flights without layovers, day trips by car, each individual traveling separately to minimize the odds all will be in contact with someone exposed, etc.).
3. Data center access
- Confirm with your colocation facility if there are any current pandemic-related access restrictions in place.
- Make sure your facility has the most up-to-date data on persons granted access to your data center.
- If you are sending an employee that typically does not enter your data center, make sure they are prepared and have the information they need to find the location efficiently and enter the facility easily.
- Make sure your employees have immediate access to you in case issues arise on site.
4. Staff safety
- Consider enacting a policy that prohibits travel between the data center and other employee work locations to minimize the chance of cross-contamination if someone is exposed.
- Minimize the potential for coverage gaps due to exposure by creating completely separate teams of mission-critical staff and ensure there is no cross-shift contact.
- Find out what protocols your facility has in place to protect your employees while on site. Prep your team accordingly adhering to the CDC’s current recommendations.
- Find out if there has been any staff at your data center’s facility with possible exposure, timing and location.
- Encourage your employees to restrict their access to essential areas while in the data center facility, avoiding shared spaces including conference rooms, lounges, gyms, etc.
- While your employees are on-site at your data center, make sure they follow recommended coronavirus-related cleaning protocols, including properly disposing of rubbish and disinfecting surfaces.
- Have a protocol in place if a possible exposure is identified during employee travel (for example, 14-day quarantine of impacted employees).
From IT team risks to scaling your remote workforce and more, we’ll continue to explore ways to help you manage your data center throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Follow our blog and follow us on social media to stay up to date.