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Is data center cleaning a compliance requirement?

Data center cleaning may not be mandated, but it's still a good idea to do. Some best practices include using HEPA technology and specific cleaning products.

I've read about how data center cleaning has become increasingly important, since severs can often be disrupted by things such as dirty or clogged ventilation systems, dust build-up on the actual hardware and clutter that can cause static discharge. Is data center cleaning a requirement for HIPAA or SOX compliancy? If not, is it something my organization should explore anyway?

I am not aware of any direct compliance requirement that mandates the cleaning of data centers. That said, organizations interested in protecting the thousands or millions of dollars they invest in technology infrastructure should probably not try to save a few pennies by cutting corners on keeping that equipment in an optimal, clean environment.

Data centers should be treated as low-level clean rooms and cleaning staff should use techniques designed for environments with sensitive electronics. For example, cleaning products used in data centers should not contain ammonia. Vacuums used to clean data center facilities should have high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) air filtering technology to remove unseen particulate matter from the facility.

For more information on the standards for operating clean room environments, organizations may wish to review the ISO 14644 standard: Cleanrooms and Associated Controlled Environments.

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Learn some best practices for data center cleaning, the basics of data center maintenance and what failure to comply with the maintenance means.

This was last published in October 2015

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