Data centers and server rooms serve as the beating heart for businesses of all sizes. It is the place where Information travels at the sped of light to help clients, collaborate on projects, maximize sales opportunities, perform financial transactions, record important contracts, document employee information, and meet government compliance standards.
When a server room or data center goes down for even a moment it can have a crippling effect on workflow as well as damage your business’s reputation. Even though your in-house IT staff might be up to the task of defending your system against hackers and defeating computer viruses before they have a chance to spread through your network, they might not be prepared to handle one of the most insidious enemies of data servers everywhere, dust and other airborne contaminants.
Dangers Of Dust & Airborne Contaminants In A Server Room
Massive data centers running large commercial properties typically have their own HVAC air management systems that help minimize the presence of dust and other airborne contaminants. Though these are the exception rather than the norm. Most businesses don’t need an expansive data center and can operate to 21st century standards with a more modest-sized server room.
Yet this lack of high-end air management systems can also leave your business at risk for damage caused by dust and pollen buildup. Most sensitive electronics have some type of built-in fan that helps cool them and move hot air away from internal components. Though they typically lack any sort of effective filter.
When dust enters the electronic device, like a server or a dedicated IT laptop it can affect the internal electrical components as well as potentially damage the internal cooling fan.
What Are Common Airborne Contaminants?
The majority of dust is made up of tiny skin cells shed by human beings. This is part of the reason why it’s such a prevalent problem in the dry months of winter. Though it’s not the only airborne contaminant that can affect sensitive electronics in a server room. Any of the following can also be carried in the air to find an unwanted home in your business’s vital electronics.
- Skin particles
- Belt debris
- Fabric particles
- While you might have some type of air management system in place in your server room or data center, these contaminants can still find their way in every time the door is opened. Not to mention the chances of them coming in on the soles of someone’s shoes.
Professional Cleaning To Augment Existing Best Practices
Most IT staff members have practices and strategies in place to reduce the presence of dirt, dust, and airborne contaminants from invading the server room. While these industry best practices are an essential part of daily operations, even the most well-designed standards and practices model is never going to be 100% perfect. This means your cleaning room will need specific cleaning at specific times.
How Often To Clean A Server Room?
Server room cleaning has different levels and degrees of cleaning that can be done at different intervals such as daily, weekly, or scheduled deep cleaning events.
IT staff should be encouraged to perform some daily cleaning. This includes things like emptying garbage cans at the end of the day, wiping up any condensation created by a water bottle, or occasionally wiping fingerprints off a keyboard or touch screen display. From there it is often a matter of targeted cleaning specific areas.
Cleaning A Raised Floor
A lot of server rooms and data centers have some type of raised floor this provides a convenient space for cables, power cords, and other IT equipment. Most raised floors should be cleaned at least once a week with a dry mop. A broom should never be used as it can easily stir up or add airborne particles to the sensitive server room environment.
Then once every three months, a vacuum with a HEPA filter should be used to thoroughly clean the raised floor. If the room contains any perforated tiles with dampers, they should be removed and cleaned outside the server room.
Cleaning Electronic Equipment
Airborne contaminants are prone to settling on server racks and other equipment in the area. Just like a raised floor, these areas need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove all contaminants. This can be done with the same vacuum with a HEPA filter as needed. Afterward, you can wipe server surfaces with damp wipes that contain approved anti-static cleaning chemicals.
Cleaning Overhead Areas
A lot of server rooms have some type of ceiling plenum. It is a space between the structural ceiling and a drop-down ceiling where cables and ducts run through. It needs to be thoroughly clean at least twice a year, about six months apart each time. Here again, you want to employ the same vacuum with a HEPA filter and clean overhead airways with a cloth containing appropriate antistatic cleaning fluids.
Cleaning The Subfloor
The subfloor area in a server room or data center is rarely seen and rarely tread upon. Yet it is possible over time for miniscule amounts of dust and airborne debris to settle on them. So, it’s best to schedule a thorough deep cleaning every six months.
This starts with dry mopping as well as using a HEPA filter vacuum to clean dust out of any hard-to-reach places. Especially around subfloor cabling, conduits, and ductwork.
The Benefits Of Professional Cleaning A Server Room
Chances are your IT staff are well prepared to deal with hackers and computer viruses. They are probably even pretty good at picking up after themselves and taking care of simple daily cleaning duties. Though when it comes to other tasks, like deep cleaning subfloors, and cleaning ceiling areas they might be going beyond their usual depth. Of course, there are several benefits to having your server room or data center professionally cleaned by a company like Building Services Inc.
For starters, you can rest easy knowing that we are bringing state-of-the-art professional cleaning equipment such as commercial-grade HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners to bear. As well as manning them with highly trained and experienced technicians who know how to get the job done right the first time.
This also lets your in-house IT staff stay focused on what they do best, which is taking care of your electronics and IT infrastructure. This ultimately saves your business time and money. We can also schedule deep cleaning procedures during your off-hours to get the server room cleaned without any interruption in your normal daily operations.