4D’s top priority during the coronavirus pandemic has been to keep our data centre staff and clients safe while maintaining operations, and we have made several changes to ensure we achieve this.
We quickly made physical and procedural changes to our data centres, our rapid actions ensuring that we were able to maintain our data centres as safe environments, without causing any disruptions for our customers.
1. Door exit buttons changes to hands-free sensors
For security reasons the internal doors in our data centres are locked. We used to have door release buttons for people to use when exiting, but these have been replaced with infrared scanners which people can activate without touching, reducing the amount of regularly-touched surfaces.
2. Antibacterial wipes and hand gel distributed throughout our centres
We have placed antibacterial wipes and hand gel throughout the data centres available for anyone to use. They have been placed at any areas which have different people regularly coming into contact with surfaces, including:
- Door handles
- Water fountain
- Coffee machine
We’ve also introduced new practises around regularly wiping down these surfaces and ensuring anyone entering the data centre from outside immediately uses hand sanitiser.
3. Reduction in contact and extra precautions for visitor sign in/out
To decrease the risk of visitors to our data centre infecting staff and other visitors, we have made significant changes to our process for signing in and out of the data centre, without compromising our security.
- 4D staff are now responsible for recording a visitor’s details, not the visitor
- Signature requirement removed
- Lanyards and access cards regularly sanitised
- Fabric lanyards have been replaced with plastic to facilitate wipe down
4. Face coverings to be used
There is now official advice recommending the use of face masks in certain settings to limit the spread of Covid-19. To protect our staff we have asked all customers visiting the data centre, as well as staff who come into contact with customers, to wear a mask or face covering.
We also have a supply of (non-medical grade) disposable face masks to provide to customers who do not have their own.
5. Increased remote hands allowance for all clients
While lockdown is in effect, we have completely removed any limitations on tasks being completed through our remote hands service. This is to reduce the number of trips our clients need to make to the data centres, and thus reducing contact for them and our staff.
We ask that clients give us prior notice for particularly complex tasks, or any that will take a significant amount of time, but other than that, all restrictions have been removed. Clients have responded positively to this and we are all safer thanks to people avoiding unnecessary visits.
6. Where possible staff are working from home
Data centre operators and other ‘data infrastructure operators’ have been given key worker status during lockdown due to the essential work we do. To keep our services operating 24/7, as well as keeping up our security, our data centres need to be staffed at all times. But we have reduced the number of staff in the data centres as much as we can:
- As many staff as possible are now working from home
- On-site engineers now work in skeleton crews to further reduce numbers
- Staff members working in the data centres have been given socially-distant work stations
This keeps our staff safe by reducing the amount of contact they’re having with other people, while allowing them to continue their important work.
While physical contact with other people has been reduced as far as possible, the 4D team have also taken steps to make sure our staff still have time for social interactions so we can all stay in touch with our colleagues and friends.
7. Changes to our access policy to reduce the number of visitors at any one time
We – along with other data centre operators – have decided to implement a policy of Access by Appointment Only for our clients:
- Visits to the data centres will be restricted to a maximum of 4 persons at any one time
- A limit of 2 persons from any one company
- Maximum time limit of any one visit will be restricted to 4 hours (required exemptions to this will be reviewed on a case by case basis)
Our intention behind these policies is not to restrict our clients’ visits to our data centres, they are in place simply to schedule the visits in a fair way that will prevent them occurring at the same time. This reduces contact between customers and allows our staff to wipe down surfaces between visits, making the data centres safer for everyone.
4D is committed to protecting our clients
Everyone has had to adjust to a new normal while continuing to operate under Covid-19 and lockdown, and 4D is proud to be a pillar of support for our customers by continually offering advice and a totally-undisrupted service, regardless of the global pandemic.
"Just wanted to say that I'm pretty damn impressed with the team at 4D.
In relation to the recent COVID-19 crisis, I am relieved that you have taken a measured and sensible approach, rather than going into full lockdown.
4D are the best I've worked with so far." Cal Leeming | River Oakfield Ltd.