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Covid-19 could see data centre operators focus on training for staff

The fallout from Covid-19 will 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, according to Chris Burden, chief commercial officer at Memset.

Burden has suggested social distancing measures within facilities could be here for some time and upskilling staff to take on more responsibilities could provide a more skilled data centre workforce. He said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the important role data centres and cloud computing plays when it comes to supporting businesses and institutions alike.

“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. 

“The first order of business will be a review of all business continuity planning practices. All facilities should have up-to-date plans in place which are frequently tested against things such as outages, flooding and other forms of natural disaster. According to the Government’s National Risk Register, human disease also ranks highly, yet it will be interesting to see how many organisations actually had planned for an event such as Covid-19.”

“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. 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.

“Management will need to 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 to training and development to support this, enabling core staff to take on a bigger role than they might have previously had. 

“Ultimately, Covid-19 has brought about profound, irreversible changes to the world. While many saw digital transformation as something of a luxury, the speed in which projects are being commissioned means we are now actually seeing the true transformation of digital services within organisations. The data centre needs to stay nimble and key to that will come with ensuring staff within facilities are equipped with knowledge, skills and training to take on more responsibility.” 

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