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Data Centers

Client and Industry Challenges

Data centers have become central to today’s business infrastructure, as reliance on networked technology affects information retrieval and sharing in virtually every facet of commerce and society. Simply put, “data is big business.”

Data center characteristics and challenges comprise a unique category of real estate. Their 24/7, 365-day operational nature requires continuous, safe, secure access to vast amounts of power, equipment cooling systems and broad data bandwidth. User expectations also place special pressure on data centers to deliver round-the-clock service while protecting the data privacy of thousands and often millions of users.

As the amount of information grows and explodes via websites, social networks, and over smartphones and laptops, organizations face increasingly complicated financial management, regulatory and compliance requirements. In addition, the advent of cloud computing means that data centers offering this service are rapidly evolving to become mass scale computing environments.

What does all of this mean from the standpoint of legal guidance and counsel? To properly meet the unique challenges of this special business infrastructure, legal professionals involved must have a deep understanding of the myriad of issues affecting data centers. Snell & Wilmer meets that test. We work seamlessly across practice lines to develop legal teams equipped to advise and represent all parties who touch or are impacted by data centers.

 Areas of Service

Acquiring, Establishing, Securing and Operating Data Centers

  • Site acquisition and due diligence (zoning, underlying leases and encumbrances, permitting, environmental, fiber optic availability, power cost, etc.)
  • Power and cooling supply, capacity, backup and redundancy
  • Data servers, racks and equipment ownership, access and removal rights
  • Expansion/contraction/modular flexibility
  • User Rental and Service Agreements
  • Options to extend and terminate
  • Indemnities, waivers, warranties, cost containment and other contractual matters
  • Tier level options
  • Green grid efficiency

Data Privacy and Security

  • Privacy and data security audits
  • Preparation of privacy, data security, confidentiality and other policies and procedures
  • Data breach prevention and notification
  • Facilitation of transfer of private information, including U.S./EU Safe Harbor
  • Preparation and analysis of contracts regarding data storage, processing and cloud computing
  • Compliance with applicable regulatory requirements regarding processing and storage of personal data, including U.S. and EU laws
  • Analysis of impact of proposed changes in regulatory and legal systems impacting data collection, processing and storage

Data Center Financial, Regulatory, Risk and Tax Management

  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Governmental compliance
  • Taxation (e.g., rent taxes, personal and real property taxes, construction contracting privilege taxes) 

Compliance and Government Investigations 

  • Developing and monitoring compliance programs
  • Responding to grand jury subpoenas, civil investigative demands and other governmental subpoenas
  • Interfacing with criminal investigators  

Risk Avoidance and Management, Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Investigation, evaluation, negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation of disputes involving design, construction, operation and performance of data center infrastructure, utilities and equipment
  • Coordination with forensic and remediation designers/contractors to remedy deficient or nonperforming facility infrastructure, utilities and equipment

Clients We Serve

We advise and represent all those who impact and are impacted by data center infrastructure, including developers, investors, lenders, owners, tenants, users, contractors, engineers and consultants.  

Why Clients Select Us

Specialized Knowledge: We understand the unique and evolving nature of data centers due in part to our experience in all related legal specialties. For example, we have for many years been a strong force in the areas of real estate and information technology law. As a result, we are armed to anticipate legal exposures and opportunities at each point in the data center decision-making and operational processes.

Focused and Flexible: Because we are a full-service law firm with deep experience in all areas affecting data center legal issues, a team of attorneys and support staff can be easily and quickly assembled to meet the client-specific needs of large-scale data center projects, including emergency situations and crisis management. Our ability to provide fast, specialized service can result in a competitive advantage for our clients.