Data Center Security is much more than digital
In 2006, Information Technology Magazine called the IT industry out, saying that physical security was the most overlooked aspect of technology security. I suspect little has changed since then, but found Sarah Scalet’s recent article in CSO Magazine instructive. Protecting data is not just a job for technologists. It also takes physical security, an often-overlooked element in the information technology world…
Some of the 19 ways Scalet advocates include the following:
- Pay attention to walls. Foot-thick concrete is a cheap and effective barrier
- Avoid windows. Think warehouse, not office building. If you must have windows, limit them to the break room or administrative areas
- Keep a 100-foot buffer zone around the site. Where landscaping does not protect the building from vehicles, use crash-proof barriers instead
- Use retractable crash barriers at vehicle entry points
- Limit entry points. Control access to the building by establishing one main entrance, plus a back one for the loading dock
- Protect the building’s machinery. Keep the mechanical area of the building, which houses environmental systems and uninterruptible power supplies, strictly off limits.
- Harden the core with security layers. Anyone entering the most secure part of the data center will have been authenticated at least three times, including at the outer door, at the inner door, at the entrance to the “data” part of the data center, and finally at the door to an individual computer processing room. This is for the room where actual servers, mainframes or other critical IT equipment is located
Many of these ways mirror good warehouse security practices. It’s all about access. There are ways to secure areas within areas, so that various personnel within what Scalet calls the “core” can access the room, but not the servers or equipment. The good thing about options such as wire partitioning and cages is that it’s flexible and can be easily reconfigured as the equipment layout is expanded or changed. Smaller (even mobile) caging equipment can also be utilized.
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Marketing Director with three decades of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. He writes on automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations.