Why resilience? The inspiration behind our new community strategy
The word “resilience” gets used a lot at CyrusOne. We talk about it when we plan to withstand extreme weather conditions like hurricanes or earthquakes, and when we explore new cybersecurity solutions that will help us avert potential cyberattacks. We talk about resilience when it comes to operating in water-scarce locations or planning for the impacts of climate change. Whatever the situation, we pride ourselves at CyrusOne for being able to adapt, and not merely survive, but succeed, even under challenging conditions.
This last year, we were inspired by this longstanding theme of resilience when we set out to develop a more cohesive and comprehensive community investment strategy for the company. When we considered how CyrusOne could make a greater impact in the communities in which we operate, we saw an opportunity to focus our efforts on building more resilient communities in three distinct ways:
1. Build a resilient workforce by giving our teammates and contractors the support and inclusive environment they need to adapt to changing business and world conditions, and by nurturing new talent through internships and training programs.
2. Build resilient community networks by helping our communities weather unexpected shocks and downturns, such as those that have been impacted by natural disasters or are facing food insecurity.
3. Build resilient ecological networks by giving communities (both human and wildlife) access to water and a healthy, biodiverse habitat and by minimizing the effects of climate change.
There’s much work to do to activate our new community strategy, and as we do, we’ll look to build upon work that has been in motion for many years. Here are three of the areas where we have built resilience into our business and a few of the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
Resilience requires planning ahead
Natural disasters are unpredictable, but CyrusOne customers require constant, uninterrupted service from our data centers. That means they need to be up and running in the middle of a hurricane, earthquake, cyberattack, or any other disaster event. Resiliency in the business continuity world is born of planning and then planning some more. We put together plans and procedures for every worst-case scenario we can imagine, and then test those plans to ensure they work.
Resilience requires collaboration
We can do a lot to support biodiversity and healthy wildlife habitats in the areas that surround our data centers (and we do), but to truly create flourishing, resilient ecosystems, we must work with partners. For example, we worked with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and the Nature Conservancy on a project to prevent the removal of 177 acre-feet of water from the San Saba River in Texas over the next three years. It’s an achievement we never could have accomplished all by ourselves. And thanks to this collaboration, water will remain in the river, allowing the San Saba’s mussels, fish, and other wildlife to thrive.
Resilience reveals opportunities to innovate
In many data centers, vast quantities of water are consumed for cooling purposes. However, water is a limited resource, especially in water stressed areas. So most of CyrusOne’s data centers use water-free cooling systems, making our business more resilient and less at-risk in the case of water shortages or the need to prioritize water for use by local communities. However, we didn’t stop there. Instead, we saw an opportunity to innovate further, setting a target to make all our facilities that are in high water stress regions into net positive water facilities. Currently, three of our data centers are net positive water facilities as well as our corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas.