As technology advances in this digital age, organizations find themselves storing more and more data. A recent report by McAfee shows that keeping data centers secure is a top concern for 2014. Since your data center is essentially the nerve center of your organization, it’s essential that you protect it. When it comes to keeping your data center safe, physical security is key.
The right spot
The location of your data center should be somewhat remote. Typically, data centers are built at least 20 miles from company headquarters. Further, the center should be at least 100 feet from the main road or neighbors, avoid building in areas prone to flood or at high risk for fires.
Speaking of neighbors, don’t give prying eyes a birds-eye view by putting your data center too near an airport. It’s also best to steer clear of power plants or chemical plants. The idea is to keep your data center out of harm’s way, so don’t build it near risky neighbors.
Think of your data center as more of a bunker than an office building. The safest data centers have foot thick concrete walls. Concrete is a fairly affordable building material and also protects from explosive devices. Walls, in general, are key; you don’t need windows in your data center. Windows should be limited to break rooms or administrative areas, if you must have them.
Internal walls should run from slab ceiling to the sub-flooring. Make sure that any drop ceilings aren’t providing hidden access to areas of your data center.
The right landscaping
Use landscaping to protect your data center from sight of passing cars. Trees and bushes help obscure the building, however fences and other security devices might attract interest from passersby.
Although, it does look nicer, if landscaping won’t work to protect your data center from incoming vehicles, put up crash-proof barriers around the center. Keep entrances blocked with retractable barriers.
Safety meets security
Your data center will need doors for fire escapes to keep your employees safe and to meet fire codes, but those doors should be exits only. Control access to the data center by having only one or two main entrances, and the rest of the doors can be exit only with handles only on the inside so employees can get out.
The right people
Staff your data center with people you can trust and use two-factor authentication. Biometrics should be combined with access cards. To access more sensitive areas of the data center, add layers of authentication. Consider using “mantraps,” two sets of doors with airspace between them where only one door can be opened at a time and authentication is needed for each door.
Keep from having to let delivery people or guests into sensitive areas by creating reception areas complete with restrooms.
Keep an eye on everything happening in your data center including who’s entering and exiting the building. Surveillance cameras should be monitoring all access points to your data center outside and in. Make sure you have cameras that will work in low light, can pan, tilt and zoom, and combine those with fixed cameras as well. Record footage digitally and store it offsite.
These are just a few best practices for building a secure data center; the list could be much longer. How is your organization protecting its data center?