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Tips for cleaning data-centre equipment in response to coronavirus

Written by  Mar 26, 2020

While it's easy to keep your desk clean, what about your data centre? People go in and out and touch things all the time.

Rubber gloves are an option, but they can be a nuisance when working with gear or touch screens.

Dell has come up with some guidance for cleaning its data centre products. It's well timed, as data-centre operators are tasked with implementing access and cleaning procedures in response to COVID-19.

It's a real issue. Since the hardware in colocation data centres are owned by the clients, they have every right to visit the facility to perform maintenance or upgrades – but not for now.


Meanwhile, data-centre staff have been declared essential and are exempt from the UK's "stay at home" order, so like grocery store and banking staff, data centre workers can go to work.

Dell acknowledges that its data centre products "are not high touch products," and that data centres should have a clean room policy where people are required to sanitise their hands before they enter.

If your gear does need sterilisation, Dell recommends engaging a professional cleaning company that specialises in sterilizing data center equipment. If that's not possible, then you can do it yourself as a last resort.

Pay-per-use IT models, such as ITaaS, could be the next chapter in IT infrastructure.

Start off with disposable rubber gloves, if you can find them. Because electronics and moisture don't mix very well, Dell recommends powering down the gear in advance of work. This is likely not feasible in many data centre cases, so Dell recommends that cleaning be limited to external surfaces such as handles and other common touch points. Do not open cabinet and chassis doors or attempt to clean any internal components.

Also see: How VPN Services Protect Your Data

Dell says to avoid cleaners with chlorine, such as bleach; peroxides; solvents such as acetone, paint thinner, benzene, methylene chloride or toluene; ammonia (for example, Windex); and ethyl alcohol.

"To clean external surfaces such as handles and cabinets, moisten a microfibre cloth with a final concentration of 70% isopropyl alcohol by volume. The cloth should be moist, but not dripping wet," the company said. Wipe everything down and make sure they are dried off, leaving no moisture behind.

All of this sounds like common sense but if there's one thing I've seen this past week, it's that unfortunately sense isn't very common.

If you want to find out more about IT Security try https://itsecuritycentre.co.uk.

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Paul Anderson

Our Cyber world tech journalist, Paul specialises in Cyber Security having worked in the field for over 5 years and has previous Tech admin roles to his credit. Applying Cyber tech to office use and sharing Cyber related articles are what Paul offers us. He is very experienced and his contribution is invaluable.

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