5 Physical Security Features to Look for in a Data Center

Importance of Security at Data Center

When we consider data security, many of us tend to think about backups, updates, firewalls, encryption, and anti-virus software. And while each of these should be a determining factor when considering data center security, they should also go hand-in-hand with a number of physical security features. Combined, this makes up a well-rounded logical and physical security system.


5 Security Features Your Data Center Should Have


1. DVR Motion Cameras

Aside from exterior cameras with the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom, interior units should also be used to monitor activity within the data center. This can be accomplished with DVR motion cameras, which should be positioned throughout the facility (depending on the size of the data center, dozens of DVR motion cameras may be employed). These cameras record surveillance footage any time motion is detected onto a secure hard drive, and will continue recording until motion has completely ceased. This is preferred over continuous monitoring, as it makes it easier for security experts to find what they’re looking for if there is a breach.


2. Multi-Factor Authentication Security

Most data centers recommend clients use multi-factor authentication (MFA) within their own facilities. MFA is a defensive strategy that grants access to people only if they possess two of the following three requirements:

  • Something They Know. This could be a password or PIN number.

  • Something They Have. This involves entering a unique, automatically-generated, time-based PIN that identifies someone.

  • Something They Are. This could be a fingerprint, retina scan, facial recognition software, or some other form of biometrics.

Of course, data centers themselves should follow their own advice. Security for any reputable data center will include dual-authentication protocols, often through the use of an HID card, which uses embedded radio frequencies that a card reader will recognize, along with a PIN number and a biometric feature.


3. Alarmed Man-Traps

A man-trap is like an airlock; it’s a small room with an entry door on one side, and an exit door on the other. Used to prevent unauthorized access, the man-trap ensures that an unauthorized person does not slip inside the facility behind someone that is authorized to be there. It also makes it difficult for an authorized person to pass their HID card to someone else upon entering. Of course, if the man-trap seems compromised, alarms signal the potential breach.


4. Weather Resistance

Because humans aren’t the only threat to a data center’s security, weather resistance should also be considered. Organizations evaluating prospective data centers should look for partners that are outside flood zones (look for those at least 150 feet above sea level), away from wind-blown debris zones, and—especially for states plagued by hurricanes—CAT 3–5 hurricane-rated structures.


5. Fire Protection

Whether it’s a natural wildfire—estimated to have cost California $3 billion in 2018—or an electrical mishap, organizations selecting a data center will want a partner with quality fire suppression systems to ensure their data remains safe. In common areas, many data centers use wet-pipe systems; these have water stored within them which can potentially leak and reach server rooms. For complete protection, you should partner with a data center that employs a dry pipe system, this way, water is kept behind a valve and only released if a fire is detected. In the server rooms themselves, reputable data centers will employ FE-25, an extinguishant that is stored as a liquid, but discharges as a vapor into the hazard area. FE-25 is non-hazardous to humans, non-conductive, and non-corrosive. It leaves no residue, and is environmentally preferred to Halon, with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP).


Additional Security Features

A few more conditions you should look for when selecting a data center, include:

  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). Electrical equipment that provides emergency power to workloads if the main power source fails.

  • Redundant N+1 Generators. A safeguard that ensures an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system is always available by using an additional module to supply power if needed.

  • Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC).  A device that monitors and maintains the temperature, air distribution, and humidity of a server room, and is far better for the health of systems versus typical A/C units.

Unless a data center is housed in space, it’s always going to be subject to the whims of Mother Nature and the threat of thieves. However, choosing a data center with the above security protocols in place can provide peace of mind, and the assurance that your data will be there when you need it—and will remain in the right hands. DSM, Florida’s preferred cloud provider, offers cloud computing services and support for organizations of every size, in any industry. We maintain the strictest security protocols, and with expanding VMware vCloud options in Phoenix and Atlanta, your data can remain protected, even if a disaster strikes your business’ physical location. Want to learn more? Contact the experts at DSM today.

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