With the rapid spread of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19), our number one priority is the health and safety of our employees, partners and customers. Our facilities are 100 percent operational and we have long prepared for the possibility of a pandemic within our overall business continuity plan to ensure we can maintain this service level, whilst ensuring the health and safety of all that interact with our facilities.
We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and are following the recommendations of global and local public health authorities in all regions in which we operate. We will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.
An overview of the safety precautions we are implementing to protect employees, customers and partners and ensure business continuity can be found below.
Customer, partner and employee health and safety:
- We are significantly boosting safety protocols across our data centres and offices globally, including implementing critical sanitary measures and additional specialized training to prepare for a possible pandemic
- We are increasing the communications with and screening of customers, partners and employees to ensure they only enter our data centres if they have not travelled to impacted areas, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organisation, within the past 14 days and are symptom-free
- We are deferring all non-essential travel, transitioning to a minimum critical onsite staff level in data centres in markets which have been designated by the CDC as Level 1 - Limited Community Transmission or higher and providing other employees with the option of working from home to maintain service continuity
- We are leveraging our data centre infrastructure management capabilities to extend remote monitoring and management capabilities to enable our customers, partners and team members to work remotely in a fully productive way
- All of our data centres are equipped with the supplies to ensure they remain fully operational if remote operation becomes necessary
- We regularly engage our critical suppliers to confirm their Pandemic Response plans and have reviewed their capacity to provide service continuity
- Digital Realty's Business Continuity Framework
- Digital Realty’s Environmental Cleaning Protocols
- Interxion customer statement on Coronavirus outbreak
Customers may contact their Customer Success Manager (CSM), or e-post firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for more information. Customers at Interxion facilities should contact QHSEreporting@interxion.com
Media and industry analysts may contact Marc Musgrove email@example.com for further information. For investor enquiries please contact John Stewart: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Digital Realty's response if individuals show flu-like symptoms whilst onsite?
- In the event that an individual is or becomes symptomatic on site, Digital Realty has defined protocols which include isolating the individual in a pre-defined area, notifying management and assisting the individual to leave the site and seek medical attention immediately.
- In addition, the site teams have identified an exit path from the isolation area designed to minimise exposure to others whilst exiting symptomatic persons from the site. Once a person has been removed from the site, a thorough cleaning of the isolation area, exit path and other areas where the person may have travelled will be performed.
- Digital Realty’s site management will contact its regional management team and advise the main point of contact for the customer or supplier be informed of the incident.
- We also expect our customers and vendors to proactively reach out to Digital Realty’s site management team should they become aware of a suspected COVID-19 case or are aware of an employee or vendor who may have been in contact with another party who tested positive for COVID-19 where permissible.
What will happen in the event that there is a confirmed case associated with the facility
- If site management becomes aware that a person who visited a particular facility has tested positive (through trialling or self-reporting) for COVID-19, the site team will escalate to our Regional Management team and our Global Command Centre will issue a Red Event notification to all impacted customers.
- We then commence our deep cleaning and disinfection protocols, which may include engaging our retained industrial hygienist and speciality COVID-19 restorative cleaning provider for the common public areas of the facilities and for non-customer leased production areas. The U.S. Centers of Disease Controls (CDC) recommends "to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection…for a period up to 24-hours" before commencing cleaning and disinfection. We recommend customers follow CDC guidance and direct their employees to work remotely where practicable upon receiving notification of a confirmed case and whilst we complete cleaning.
- The evacuation would not be a fire drill but would be orderly and controlled, giving teams time to conduct tasks needed for their operations.
- After disinfecting has completed and the evacuation period expires, we will then send an “all clear” notice (which may come anywhere between 24-48 hours after case identification.
- Unless directed by government or health agency authorities to close the facility during cleaning, the facility will remain open to all permanent badge holders and access readers. As the purpose of evacuation is to allow dissipation of any virus particles to ensure the building is safe for the cleaning crew to come in, we discourage anyone from entering the building during the evacuation/cleaning phase until we announce it is safe to re-occupy the building.
- We are recommending only essential personnel who have been tested or have not entered the facility within the past 14 days and have not exhibited any flu-like symptoms re-enter the facility. Customers are asked to coordinate access for their essential personnel in advance with site management to ensure minimal disruption. Digital Realty will commence a minimum rotational staff programme, leveraging in-market resources who have not visited this facility within the past 14 days.
What is the next step of disinfection if and when there is a confirmed case in the premises?
- In confirmed cases, we will implement a deep cleaning per CDC and other public health guidelines. See the section titled Environmental Cleaning Protocols for additional information.
If there is a confirmed case, how would Digital Realty clean within a production environment?
- If we are alerted to a case of COVID-19 at one of our facilities, Digital Realty will immediately work with all parties involved, including the relevant local public health authorities, where appropriate, to obtain the facts and confirm guidance on steps to be implemented. By way of example, the company may undertake additional cleaning and disinfecting protocol of the common areas that the infected individual may have visited.
- If a facility requires additional cleaning and disinfection per CDC or other city or state authority guidelines, this will be completed after the recommended waiting periods by a speciality cleaning vendor to augment cleaning protocols where needed.
- We will execute a non-spray, cloth applied disinfection process. We will focus on high touch / high traffic areas including door handles, rails, and non-electrical equipment panels.
- Touch screens and touch pads will be cleaned and disinfected, if required. Given this equipment's potential sensitivity, an alternative method (i.e., waiting over a period of time) may be used, when a label is placed on the screen that shows "off limits - do not use until after MM DD". The intent is that the touch screen or pad will be off limits for a prescribed period of time to prevent transmitting the virus from surface contact. If the touch screen or pad needs to be used immediately, it will be cleaned and disinfected following methodology to be executed by the contractor and under approval and direct supervision by Digital Realty personnel and third-party consultants (via on-site or video oversight.
- Digital Realty will not be providing cleaning services in customer-leased premises unless required per the lease and would not clean any customer equipment in the computer rooms.
- If the CDC or other city or state authority guidelines require additional cleaning to be completed in a customer space, that Digital Realty is not responsible for cleaning per the lease, or the customer would like such spaces to be cleaned, Digital Realty would refer an industrial hygienist to work directly with the customer to develop the scope of work, and refer qualified cleaning vendors to complete the required cleaning to streamline the entire process.
Under which conditions is entry allowed to the data centre after disinfection?
- Upon completion of cleaning from specialist disinfection companies and/or clearance from local governmental agencies, if involved, Digital Realty Operations will communicate an "all-clear". We are recommending only essential personnel who have been tested or have not entered the facility in the past 14 days with no flu-like symptoms re-enter the facility. All persons entering the data centre will be asked to undergo verbal screening procedures by Digital Realty.
- Customers are asked to coordinate access for their essential personnel with site management in advance to ensure minimal disruption. Digital Realty will commence either a minimum rotational staff programme (for campuses) or a temporary dispatch model (for standalone facilities) leveraging local contract resources or personnel who have been tested negative until all staff have been medically cleared.
How does any shelter-in-place mandate affect data centre operations such as on-site availability of Remote Hands technicians and general operations support for the data centre environments (Security, Electrical, Mechanical)?
- Shelter in place orders vary by location, but generally as a provider of services necessary to maintaining the operations of "essential businesses" and individuals and entities performing "essential activities", Digital Realty's staffing decisions have not directly been affected by the shelter in place orders issued to date. We will continue to ensure our facilities have adequate staffing levels to maintain on-going operations at all times.
- Staffing and work schedules have been adjusted to maintain operational continuity. We urge all customers to suspend all non-essential work and restrict access to critical personnel only.
Which authorities are you working with around the world to ensure access to facilities is maintained for critical teams?
- Our Regional Leadership teams and Government Affairs department maintain active relationships with governmental and local authorities and there is a key focus by officials to keep critical IT infrastructure and telecommunication facilities operating without interruption.
- In the US, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has designated data centres and the Information Technology and Telecommunications Sectors they house as a "Critical Infrastructure Sector" and its critical employees as "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers" to help State and local officials as they work to protect their communities, whilst ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. As a result, we have secured access credentials from the Department of Homeland Security to ensure continuity of operations and emergency response. Please note that this programme also extends to our fuel and critical maintenance providers to support our emergency response capabilities.
- In Canada, we are working through the National Cross Sector Forum, which designates data centres as a "Critical Infrastructure Sector" as well as with Provincial authorities and other partners to ensure delivery of Emergency Support Functions identified in by the Department of Public Safety Federal Emergency Response Plan. This includes issues of access, PPE, labour, and border issues, etc.
- In EMEA, we continue to work with all relevant agencies to ensure that there is strong understanding of the services operating within our data centres, the critical nature of them and their import contribution to wider society whilst we are all handling this pandemic. In the UK, representations have been made to the government through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and it has been recognized that data centres are part of the critical infrastructure. As such out core data centre workers are given "Key Worker" status to allow on-going support of our buildings and customers. We are working similarly in both Germany and the Netherlands.
- In APAC, we continue to work with all relevant agencies to ensure that there is strong understanding of the services operating within our data centres, the critical nature of them and their import contribution to wider society whilst we are all handling this pandemic. In Australia, representations have been made to the NSW government and it has been recognized that data centres are part of the critical infrastructure. In Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong we continue to connect with the key contacts in the respective federal agencies.
Does Digital Realty have the ability to remotely run and manage data centre operations with no Human Resources inside the campus under the most extreme situations?
Our business continuity planning includes running our sites with minimal staff and we are preparing for this should we need to institute this plan through remote monitoring of BMS systems and security systems, and dispatch only.
Are there any circumstances in which Digital Realty will remove security staff or limit access to the data centre?
Digital Realty does not anticipate this will occur as a long-term response and we will only close down the data centre if mandated by authorities. If this does occur, we have plans in place to ensure continuity of services.
If there is no security at the site, is there any method by which a customer could still gain access to our space in the event of an emergency? In the event of government-mandated shutdown, is there way for customers to send Digital Realty a list of critical personnel who need to remain onsite?
- Digital Realty is able to monitor security infrastructure remotely and has already established a monitoring platform to do so if the need arises. In the unlikely event that we have to operate a site without staff, existing badges and passes would continue to work; new visitor badges and passes would be processed from other unaffected sites if needed.
- In this scenario, security alarms will be monitored remotely and a dispatch model utilized to respond to those alarms requiring a physical response at the site of the alarm.
Are there any circumstances in which Digital Realty will remove security staff or limit access to the data centre?
- Digital Realty does not anticipate this will occur as a long-term response and we will only close down the data centre if mandated by authorities. If this does occur, we have plans in place to ensure continuity of services.