Critical role of data centers during and after pandemic

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In this exclusive piece, Antoine Harb, Team Leader Middle East and North Africa at Kingston Technology writes on the important role played by data centers during the pandemic. 

The pandemic has driven the world’s adoption of digital tools faster than expected. Technology utilization during this period has been exponential, subsequently leading to immense growth in data volume. Amid projections of even higher demand for effective data storage and management in the aftermath of the global health crisis, the role of data centers has inevitably broadened.

Data centers are seen as crucial support for every facet of society today. These facilities, for instance, are essential to supporting businesses that now operate in a hybrid work set-up in which employees work either in the office or remotely at home or other locations.

Similarly, they play a part in people’s now heavy reliance on the internet as a source of their information and entertainment. Furthermore, they are pivotal to the growing efforts to establish a data-driven public sector for effective delivery of government services under the new reality ushered in by the pandemic. And the list goes on.

Rise in internet usage

A United Nations blog post noted that an additional 782 million people came online in just two years since 2019. It cited a report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) showing that internet user ranks grew to 4.9 billion in 2021 from 4.1 billion in 2019 during the pandemic.

The numbers did not come as a surprise amid mobility restrictions enforced to contain the virus. While forced to stay indoors, people have turned to the internet to stay connected—making it vital to their work and social life. Through the internet, they can work, contact their families, friends and colleagues, browse social media, and avail themselves of streaming services for entertainment without leaving the safety of their homes.

Under this environment, data centers have evolved accordingly to help guarantee that connections are stable and fast as people access various data for their wide-ranging daily needs. Operators of data centers have adapted to the rising demands by ensuring agility and upgrading the capacity of their facilities to manage the additional strain on their networks.

Emergency cases

Without data and data centers, it would be hard-pressed for hospitals and their medical staff, which lead the fight against COVID-19, to track, treat and prevent the spread of the virus. The facilities support the health industry’s requirement for fast and reliable communication, as well as its need for connected devices to effectively and timely deliver health solutions. Data centers are required to support the healthcare providers’ efforts to move data to the cloud or edge networks. They are an indispensable part of the hospitals’ initiatives to roll out web services such as cloud-based telecommunication and artificial intelligence-driven video conferencing software, to name a few. Data centers store the data and ensure the security and accessibility of all information.

New collaborative business tools  

A hybrid work environment has resulted in the steadily growing demand for cloud storage and teleconferencing services. To ensure continuity of operations, businesses have begun incorporating collaborative applications and software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams into their processes for everyday use. Experts predict that more companies will invest heavily in strengthening their cloud capabilities in the future as they adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic.

Data centers come in by delivering support to corporations with rising data and connectivity demands. They serve as an infrastructure that makes cloud computing and storage possible.

Data security

With the steady shift to a digital world, cybersecurity has become more imperative. Data breaches are costly in terms of business reputation, operations and finances. As such, keeping cybercriminals away from online networks should be a part of an organization’s overall strategy. Increased adoption of a work-from-home arrangement and the deployment of new technologies that may be subjected to cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities require strong security measures and protocols.

Data centers play an important role in data security. The facilities not only store and manage data but are also pivotal to cybersecurity tactics as they are equipped to handle potential online network risks and threats as well. Providers of data center services are growing the cybersecurity capabilities of their facilities in response to the mounting calls for stronger data and privacy protection. With advanced features, data centers can scan applications for possible threats before deployment, as well as produce reports detailing recommended solutions to major network vulnerabilities.

During and after the pandemic, data centers will be at the crux of the world’s data infrastructure. As more and more organizations and institutions are now depending heavily on digital tools to continue their operations and deliver the best customer experience, the performance of data centers, including their memory and storage features, is fundamental to support the growing data volume while ensuring connectivity, security and reliability.

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