Maintaining a data center is a huge responsibility. While you certainly have systems in place for dealing with cyberthreats, are you giving enough attention to physical security? This is still a very important aspect of the security equation.
Five Tips for Keeping Data Centers Secure
The objective of physical data center security is pretty straightforward: keep out unauthorized people while closely monitoring those who do have access. That being said, the actual process of securing a data center isn’t nearly as simple. You have to be meticulous and comprehensive in your approach. The following tips should prove helpful:
1. Be strategic about the location. The location of your data center is paramount. You want to make sure it’s hidden away and outside of floodplains and situated in an area that can be easily secured. Ideally, the plat of land should be away from main roads and highly trafficked areas, but you also don’t want it in such a discreet location that unwanted behavior goes undetected.
2. Redundant utilities. Every little detail of your data centers matters – including access to utilities. Inadequate access could compromise the entire operation. “Data centers need two sources for utilities, such as electricity, water, voice and data,” Sarah Scalet writes for CSO. “Trace electricity sources back to two separate substations and water back to two different main lines. Lines should be underground and should come into different areas of the building, with water separate from other utilities.”
3. Install security cameras. It’s important that you install security cameras for a number of reasons. Security cameras can serve as effective deterrents. When criminals (or even employees) see a camera, they’re suddenly less interested in doing whatever it was they were planning on doing. Cameras have a way of preventing crime before it ever starts. In addition, security cameras allow you to go back and see who or what caused a specific outcome. This can be invaluable when a security issue does occur. Fortunately, today’s security cameras are more practical and cost-effective than ever. Cameras with high weatherproof ratings can withstand substantial amounts of rain, snow and dust, while still providing clear and responsive audio, video and power. And because today’s cameras are typically available at modest price points, you can afford to install as many as you need to get total coverage both inside and outside the data center.
4. Maintain a low-key appearance. Data centers are best unnoticed. In an ideal world, even your closest neighbors wouldn’t know that a data center is on the property. This means you need to nix the signage and keep the building as unassuming as possible. If you’re really serious about security, consider putting up decoy signage for a faux business.
5. Layer security. A data center should have multiple layers of security so it’s impossible for someone to gain access by bypassing just one mechanism. For example, it’s a good idea to have a combination of exterior gates, biometric checkpoints, access codes and secured cages around specific hardware. While this may initially feel excessive, you’ll never regret a multi-layered approach.
Make an investment in security
It makes no sense to build out a data center and then skimp on security – whether of the physical or cyber variety. A data center comes with massive amounts of responsibility, and organizations must do what it takes to protect their investment. By no means are these tips a comprehensive security strategy, but they do provide a nice starting point. Are you prepared? Now’s the time to take action.
Anna Johannson, Writer