Crucial Steps to Consider when Evaluating Sites for Critical Facilities

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When evaluating sites for data centers, facilities professionals need to consider specific criteria for security and site integrity should emergency events occur and standard support systems fail. An ideal way to evaluate a potential site is through a site risk assessment.

• The potential for and impact of natural events – Any data center site should lie outside 100-year flood plains and, even better, outside of 500-year ones. The land also should not be prone to storm surges, localized flooding or water intrusion. If at all possible, site selection should avoid areas prone to lightning strikes, earthquakes, tornadoes or high coastal winds.

• Site security measures and context – Enough land should be available to allow implementation of such mitigation measures as security zoning, facility hardening, and stand-off measures designed to resist exposure to off-site hazards.

• Easily accessibly site for security needs – Critical facilities should have multiple points of site road access for redundancy and bear in mind necessary capacity and maneuverability considerations for large-scale vehicles.

• Robust utility infrastructure – Any site examined for data center use needs to have the ability to maintain crucial utility lifelines and infrastructure. These include diverse utility service connections from local service provider grids and hardened service feeds, among others.

• Ability to integrate with other critical assets – Facilities professionals should ask if the site is well situated in respect to other critical resources if the site is compromised and activation of a back-up facility becomes necessary. Also be sure geographic diversity exists between a primary and secondary facilities.

Such an in-depth risk assessment, experts say, should not be a one-time event. Rather, assessment should be an ongoing process in which all systems and measures in place are monitored regularly to ensure security against a changing external environment.

Click here to learn more about steps for evaluating sites for critical facilities.

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