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Data centres and COVID-19 Update

Latest news for data centre operators.

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  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 

Click here for the full press release


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