People everywhere are now realising how much all businesses depend on data, IT and communications. But perhaps as it has happened so quickly and so comprehensively become “the norm” its national importance has become overlooked. Hospitals, airports, railways, schools are considered nationally important, and all will fail without Information and communications technology (ICT). Today there is an ever growing list of new dependents on ICT; our Cities are being made “Smart” by ICT, as are our home appliances, TV’s, cars and watches.

So where is this nationally important ICT located? In the cloud or the stratosphere? No, it all exists in buildings up and down the country packed with millions of pounds of technology that keep the data and its systems safe, secure and running 24 hours every day.  They can be as large as a few football pitches or as small as a broom cupboard, but they are all share the same basic functions.  They are called data centres.

The importance of data centres to all this is profound, they are the foundation that ICT is built upon and if this foundation is not built or operated correctly the ICT will not work. This is why a group of industry experts and critical systems engineers formed the Data Centre Alliance (DCA) four years ago. The DCA has grown rapidly since and so has its agenda.

The Data Centre Alliance quickly recognised that standards, skills and investment in R&D were badly needed. DC operators realised that their customers and users needed more than just an SLA, they recognised that today’s data centre customer needs clear reassurance that their data assets are located in a secure, reliable, professionally managed and energy efficient facility. The DCA has now addressed this with the DCA Certification scheme. Launched last year the scheme provides a strictly controlled set of requirements with an impartial and independent examination of the four pillars of data centre functions i.e. the resilience of power, cooling and communications, operational professionalism, site access control security and energy efficiency.

Customers can now ensure that claims made by service providers are independently verified by looking for the DCA Certification label and can therefore buy with confidence.

The DCA Certification scheme also compliments Cloud services and other ICT services by ensuring the service is underpinned with a robust infrastructure, our strategic partner Cloud Industry Forum’s excellent Code of Practice scheme is a good example.

So in summary the industries behind the digital systems that our daily lives depend on is responding to these fast changing times, so you as the customer or user are empowered to demand that the highest standards are maintained.