At times physical security has a tendency to take a back seat to IT security when companies are selecting a data center. Customers are focused on the obvious requirements, such as network infrastructure, redundancy, power and cooling, but often times they fail to realize the importance of physically supporting and securing their assets. It goes back to the old saying, “you are only as strong as your weakest link” and I think that holds true in this industry. Why invest so heavily in IT if someone can just walk into a building, manipulate their way into your environment and obtain physical access to all of the data stored in your cabinet? An optimal data center provider should be able to offer a well- balanced IT and physical security solution for their customers.
A typical data center needs to incorporate entry access (software/readers/ACU panels/hardware), video surveillance capability (cameras/software/licensing), and visitor management controls (software/badge solutions) into their overall security plan. All of these items would only allow a data center to meet the most basic customer requests like reviewing camera footage, entry access alarms\transaction logs and efficiently being able to track visits. Add in the cost of full-time security personnel and a few advanced measures like an anti-tailgating security portal or perimeter site protection and it’s easy to see how annual operating costs can easily be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But as you know the security industry as a whole has changed pretty drastically over the past decade due to increased threats. Data center security has certainly evolved over that period as well. You are starting to see companies invest in advanced biometric systems such as face scanners and iris readers that add an additional layer of protection to the most critical areas. Anti-pass back devices such as security portals are also being used to ensure that each and every individual is being authenticated when passing through biometric access points. And data centers are increasingly investing in perimeter protection such as fencing and access control gates that help regulate vehicular and pedestrian traffic onsite. The ability to identify authorized personnel and deny access to unauthorized individuals before they ever step foot on company property is a huge advantage and helps to limit your liability from a security perspective.
Rob Stevenson has been with Net Access for over 6 years and currently manages the Security department. He previously served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Security Forces member.