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» Enterprise IT Planet » Security » Security Features

AntiOnline Spotlight: Physical Security and Your Datacenter

October 6, 2005

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Scoping out a new home for your servers? Maybe they are already comfortably nestled in your datacenter, happily crunching numbers and serving up files. Either way, giving some thought to the physical security of your backend systems can greatly enhance the overall integrity of your IT assets.

Traditionally, the emphasis has been overwhelmingly placed on perimeter security, intrusion detection, and anti-everything. The problem is that there are other ways to breach your datacenter's security, some which are far less sophisticated than mounting an attack by the glow of a laptop thousands of miles away.

Physical security should feature prominently on every technology manager's radar. Techies, while experts in systems and software, are rarely well versed on the physical dangers that may befall their systems. That job is usually up to someone else.

Locks, alarms, surveillance equipment, and physical access mechanisms typically fall under the purview of a security officer or a facilities manager, not necessarily the IT personnel that are heavily involved in datacenter planning. For all involved, this represents a great opportunity to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.

And don't be lulled into thinking that just blocking unauthorized persons from your machines is enough. A comprehensive physical security plan will take into account other factors that can down your systems. Mother nature is exceedingly efficient in that regard. Burst pipes, flaky air conditioning equipment, klutzy co-workers and even poorly routed cables can cause their fair share of grief.

This week we spotlight a short and sweet tutorial that lays down the basics of good physical security planning for a datacenter. Keep in mind that no matter how imposing rack after rack of hardware may appear, they are still fairly delicate machines. Protect them accordingly.

Note: Any opinions expressed below are solely those of the individual posters on the AntiOnline forums.

This Week's Spotlight Thread:
Auditing the Physical Security of a Data Center

Spyrus learns that managing a datacenter requires more than tapping at a keyboard and replacing the occasional failed drive...

After taking a position as a Data Center Administrator I needed a starting point. After researching everything I realized that not only is there a lack of documentation on the subject but no real recommendations for where someone should start. I propose that ensuring your Data Center is secure be the first step one takes in ensuring their overall security.

Like real estate, location is everything.

The first step in determining where your server room should be located would be in finding a good location in the building that will allow for both expansion and ease of access for anything else you need to have. A centralized location will make wire runs shorter and should prove for future ease of expansion. You will also need to ensure that this room has an adequate locking system.

freealans adds some thoughts, especially for financially flush firms.

...for example, I know of some data centers employ Bullet resistant and fire resistant Drywall. They usually use two sheets of 5/8 lying on top of each other for extra thickness. Also you could discuss the use of Fire suppressant systems, to put out a fire. I know some companies use fm-200, or halon to put out fires.

What are your recommendations for the Fort Knox of datacenters? Share them here.

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