If an organization hosts online infrastructure, it would most definitely also have a data center. It is usually a room filled with computers that host networks and remotely store and process data.
As one might have guessed, most companies have their data centers under high-security measures, and for good reason. Any unauthorized person entering the data center can lead to the entire organization being compromised.
Just imagine for a moment someone having unauthorized access to the data center of a large legal organization!
While in modern times the trend is to attack a server or network remotely to steal and access data, physical attacks can be equally dangerous. Since organizations that deal with delicate and highly confidential data are bound to place bleeding edge online protection measures, miscreants often attempt to physically access the vulnerable points of the data center in order to steal the data.
There is also the aspect of temperature and humidity levels and fire prevention measures. A data center hosts highly fragile machinery that requires a certain temperature to function at all times. Thus, various steps need to be taken to ensure that a data center is maintained under proper physical conditions.
If you had been planning to have your own data center up and running soon, then planning its physical security is of absolute importance. In this article, we will take a look at the primary parts of a data center that require constant security, and also go over the best physical security measures for a data center.
The size of a data center is dependent on the size of the organization and its data usage patterns. But every data center has certain weak areas that are prone to physical attacks more than others. So, here is a list of areas where you should maintain high security at all times.
This is the area that hosts the wiring of the entire data center. Generally, this is where the alarm systems and firewalls are located. Hence, if someone was to attack it and shut down any of these systems a remote breach can be easily conducted. It can also be used to completely shut down a server manually. A breach of the wiring compartment/room is to be protected at all costs. Here are some steps you can take:
This is where primary data activities take place. Be it hosting a network or storing data, the primary processes of a data center are performed by the machines stored here. Not only does this room need to be secure, but it also needs to be maintained under certain conditions. Here is a quick check-list for protecting the computer/server room of your data center:
Data Storage Location
You are most likely to use a RAID system to store your data. It is important that you not only store the data safely, but also ensure its availability, sanctity, and integrity at all times. This means the data storage facility will need heavy protection from physical attacks. Here are the steps you should take:
While these are the specific measures to take when guarding different areas of your data center against a physical attack, there are some basic protocols that you must have in place at all costs. Here is a list of must-have security measures:
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) is a necessary process for all indoor digital systems that house a large number of devices. Every country has its own guidelines regarding the HVAC levels of any digital system, and they should be adhered to by all organizations. Furthermore, the process of maintaining the low temperature required for a data center can be a costly process, so it is better to plan ahead and save on budget.
A large amount of water is required to cool a data center, so it is also important to use this resource with a conservational approach. There should be systems in place to reuse as much water as possible, and also to conserve the released water vapor.
While the number of cooling systems placed within a data center should not allow for a fire to take place, even a tiny spark can result in the entire system’s safety being compromised. So, it is important to adhere to strict fire safety protocols in your data center.
A data center in your organization contains and processes the data as well as hosts networks and servers. So, when planning the creation of a data center its physical security protocols take primary importance.
There are certain areas of the data center such as the wiring compartment, the computer/server room, and the actual data storage location that are considered to be high-threat areas. Individual safety measures (as mentioned above) need to be taken for these areas. Apart from these areas, the entire data center should feature state of the art security measures such as entrance and exit check-in systems, CCTV surveillance, remote backup plans, etc.
It is also important to train the staff in a proper manner and to ensure that they understand the gravity of their roles. Furthermore, there should be constant internal testing of the security measures in place.
All data centers require a certain cooling level in order to function, so the humidity and temperature need to be monitored and controlled at all times. Additionally, strict fire safety protocols should be maintained within the facility.
In this age of data ensuring that your organizational data is kept physically secure should take top priority alongside digital security. The more secure your data is the more your trust factor will increase with the clientele. Hopefully, this article was able to present an overall picture of the physical safety measures required within a data center.