International Data Centre Day: Prioritising Future-Proofing

20th March 2024 marks International Data Centre Day and so we examine how data centre businesses are elevating themselves and inspiring future workforces

Data centres continue to be vital in a world powered by a hunger for data. As a result, business leaders must continue to innovate in order to be prepared for future challenges, such as maintaining ESG guidelines and cyberattacks.

With this in mind, International Data Centre Day is designed to encourage awareness of the data centre industry and to inspire the next generation of talent. It is committed to promoting the value of STEM education to ensure that the industry will continue to grow.

With data needs digital technologies continuing to grow, we consider some of the areas of businesses that will enable data centres to keep thriving in a safe and sustainable way.

Elevating diverse data centre education

According to the Uptime Institute, nearly half of the data centre workforce currently boasts 20 years of experience or more. Despite the number of staff needed to run the world’s data centres anticipated to grow to nearly 2.3m by 2025, half of the industry’s existing engineering staff will have retired by this time.

Similarly, the data centre sector - in addition to the wider technology sector - is also struggling to retain women, with their presence continuing to be very low. This could be due to a lack of career opportunities, leading to business consequences such as limited innovation opportunities.

With this in mind, our sister publication, Technology Magazine, highlighted the diligence and transformative work that women are completing across the technology industry in its Top 100 Women 2024 list. These women, including those who work within the data centre sector, are committed to capitalising on strategic opportunities and supporting underrepresented individuals across the industry.

It is a testament to those who are committed to facilitating greater educational programmes and initiatives to support the next generation of talent within the industry.

During an interview with Data Centre Magazine, Brittany Miller, VP Design, Construction and Supply Chain at NTT Global Data Centres America said: “I believe mentorship, breaking cultural norms and intentionally reaching out will help to create a more diverse industry. We’re making strides but we do have a long way to go.”

International Data Centre Day encourages business leaders to get involved these ways, including hosting events, providing educational resources and sponsorships.

Protecting data from cybercrime

Moving forward, International Data Centre Day also works to advocate for future-proofing the sector - which involves greater resources and information concerning how to prevent data breaches.

Ransomware and other cyberattacks continue to raise concerns for data centres, with 95% of IT decision-makers viewing digital infrastructure as a risk to businesses as a result of large data surges. The consequences of a cyberattack on a data centre could be catastrophic, causing huge amounts of data to be compromised.

Data centre teams and IT professionals are therefore having to implement protective storage solutions and digital security measures to ensure that customer and corporate data is protected against threat actors.

“A robust cybersecurity posture is therefore crucial not only for protecting data centres from threats but ensuring rapid recovery too,” says Camellia Chan, CEO and co-founder at Flexxon. “However, traditional software-based cybersecurity solutions often deployed by data centres have significant vulnerabilities. In a landscape that changes rapidly, inability to adapt quickly or insufficient response capabilities can severely affect business operations and continuity.”

Also speaking on this, David Bennett, CEO at Object First, says “This International Data Centre Day, I urge IT leaders to conduct regular audits of their security strategy to understand their risks and limitations.

“It’s never been more important to ensure robust protection is in place, including secure primary storage. Immutable backup storage – which prevents data from being altered, corrupted or deleted – can be the last line of defence against threats like ransomware.”

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