The COVID-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves throughout the world. As organizations around the globe scramble to help slow the spread of the virus, some companies find themselves with increased responsibility. Data centers, in particular, have a crucial role to fill.
With nearly 400,000 cases globally, the coronavirus is not only disrupting social life, but it's also changing the face of business. Internet needs are both growing and shifting, and data centers have to account for this change. Here are some of the ways data centers are serving communities amid the crisis.
Supporting Increased Internet Traffic
To slow the spread of the virus, many companies have urged employees to work from home. Even those who are considered essential workers are encouraged to stay inside whenever possible. So that leaves millions of people at home, browsing social media and streaming services more than usual. This increased internet traffic creates more demand for data centers.
While internet usage is rising, it's nothing data centers can't handle. In the past, events like the Olympics have created higher traffic spikes than the social distancing movement has at this point. However, as people continue to turn to the internet for pretty much everything — information, entertainment, supplies, etc. — data centers need to ensure connections are fast and stable.
However, according to Amazon Web Services, web service providers are ready for what’s to come.
Offering Collaborative Software for Businesses
Internet traffic isn't the only thing on the rise. As more employees work remotely, businesses are taking advantage of services like cloud storage and teleconferencing. All data centers have to account for this increase, and some are helping companies with their demand.
Microsoft Teams, a collaborative solution, saw a 500% usage increase in China alone since late January. In response to this growing need, the company is offering some of its services to businesses for free. Other companies like Google and Zoom are doing the same thing.
Collaboration has driven cloud growth for years now. As these services become more crucial than ever, data centers must be able to support a rapidly expanding cloud. Though this migration was expected to happen eventually, it's occurring at a much faster rate than anticipated.
Supporting Emergency Services
Health care services around the world are fighting to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Efficient emergency services require fast and reliable communication, especially amid a global health crisis. Some data centers and their parent companies are working to strengthen this communication.
Chinese tech giant Alibaba is offering medical staff free trials of advanced web services like cloud-based telecommunication. Its videoconferencing software uses AI to provide real-time translation services. With this technology, doctors from various countries can share information about the disease, including symptoms and treatments.
Facilitating these functions is a necessity. Without reliable data centers, the worldwide health care industry’s response to the coronavirus would be limited.
Maintaining Data Security
Maintaining internet connections isn't the only concern facing data centers. Increased traffic means more information is potentially at risk, making cybersecurity all the more critical. Centers need to emphasize security as they see a surge in use.
DRFortress, one of Hawaii's largest data centers, has worked with third parties to ensure its operations are ready for any changes. Part of this readiness program includes readying security backups. If new threats arise during this time of increased traffic, it will have the necessary tools to handle them.
As companies move more of their business functions to the cloud, security will become a more pressing concern. More enterprises will be looking for robust cybersecurity from their data centers and cloud providers.
Responsibility of Data Centers in Emergencies
In the digital age, data centers have a unique responsibility in times of crisis. The internet is vital to nearly every industry, and it relies on data centers to function. Thankfully, many companies have stepped up to the challenge in an effort to fight this pandemic.
In the U.K., industry competitors have joined forces to help combat the crisis. Rival companies are sharing information about how best to slow the virus's spread and address industry issues. They're putting public safety above financial gain, understanding that collaboration will yield the best results when it comes to people over profits.
With help from data centers, organizations will be able to handle the outbreak more effectively. Data centers serve a key role in survival during the COVID-19 pandemic and will play the part again should any future crisis occur.