Cleaning and Maintaining Your Data Center in the Era of COVID-19

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to making sure that your Data Center works properly and that you’re meeting your uptime requirements.  As well, it protects your investment in your mission critical IT equipment. With the primary risk being airborne contaminants, like dust, which can damage sensitive electronics or cause fires, cleaning is a simple step that can reduce the risk of downtime or loss of data – either of which can be catastrophic for your business.

Dealing with a global pandemic adds an extra layer on top of regular cleaning considerations. In today’s world, you not only have to ensure that your facility is operational, but you also have to protect employees and visitors from potential exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

Standard operating procedures

Standard cleaning protocols protect your facility and help it work properly and safely. The cleaning needs for individual facilities vary based on how much traffic, the amount and type of computing equipment and server racks in the space, as well as the size of the facility. For all but the smallest spaces, the first and best step to protecting your equipment is a daily regimen of vacuuming with a HEPA filter. Vacuuming or mopping (without using excessive water) are preferred to sweeping, which raises dust and can create more problems.

The entire Data Center should be cleaned at least once a quarter—washing all the floors, walls, and ceiling, and cleaning the equipment and rack surfaces. Once a year, deep cleaning should include up-close inspection of all areas, including the floor surface and underfloor spaces.

COVID-19 operating procedures

The standard cleaning discussed above is how you can protect your equipment. In the era of COVID-19, extra attention is required to protect your employees and visitors.

A few reminders from the US Centers for Disease Control about reducing the risk of exposure:

  • COVID-19 on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects.
  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces and lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • By using a disinfectant to kill germs on a surface after cleaning, you can further lower the risk of spreading the infection.

In addition to physical distancing and wearing masks when around others, the primary way to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus is through cleaning and disinfecting surfaces where the virus may lie. In workplaces, this includes high touch areas like doorknobs, railings, light switches, countertops, and touch screens, which need to be disinfected using products recommended by the EPA as effective against COVID-19.

In addition to regular cleaning and disinfection, other key steps to keep your Data Center safe include:

  • Implementing basic infection prevention methods like promoting handwashing and mask-wearing
  • Providing resources like tissues and disposable towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and no-touch trash cans
  • Encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick and creating protocols to test or question employees and visitors about potential exposure
  • Providing flexible work policies, like working from home or staggered shifts, when possible

COVID-19 adds an extra layer to your cleaning protocol. But one that is necessary as we all work to contain the virus and get back to normal.

Find advice from the CDC about cleaning and disinfecting workplaces and public spaces. Get OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.

For more about DSI’s maintenance and cleaning capabilities, please visit: Data Center COVID-19 Cleaning