Data center physical security is the set of policies and procedures that attempt to prevent and deter unauthorized personnel from accessing and manipulating data center assets.
Data centers are constantly exposed to a variety of security threats due to the large amount of valuable data they contain. Unauthorized access—both accidental and malicious—accounts for between 9 and 18 percent of all breaches and costs the global data center industry $400 billion every year.
As such, securing the physical infrastructure the resides in the data center is a top priority for data center professionals who must comply with increasingly stringent company requirements and industry regulations.
Basic, low-level protection is no longer adequate for the complexities of modern data center environments. Data center managers must rigorously protect their equipment and data while still allowing technicians and contractors the access they need to perform their necessary work.
Best Practices to Ensure Data Center Physical Security
- Deploy electronic door locks and card access control. Keep your data center assets secure by keeping them in enclosed cabinets or containment areas. Locking your assets behind doors with RFID cards or biometrics will deter unauthorized access because of the effort required and low likelihood of success.
- Limit entry points. Establish one main entrance for customers and employees, one in the back for loading docks, and exit-only fire exit doors if fire codes require them. Inside, have manned checkpoints with floor-to-ceiling turnstiles or mantraps to further prevent unauthorized access.
- Perform background checks. You can’t be too careful about who works in your data center. Run background checks on all employees, vendors, and contractors who have access to equipment and data.
- Employ on-site security staff. The mere presence of 24x7x365 security staff reduces threats, and they can respond quickly to potential incidents. Security staff should conduct routine patrols to be a constant reminder that your data center is protected.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Deploy centralized, modern data center security management software to reduce risk in your data center.
Enhance Data Center Physical Security with DCIM Software
Modern data center managers leverage Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software to safeguard against physical threats and intrusions.
By deploying DCIM software, you can:
- Manage door locks and card access control. Track when doors to your cabinets are open through contact closure sensors and determine when access attempts are made, by whom, and if the attempts are successful with card access assignments made via the software. This will help you save time, eliminate the hassle of keeping track of keys or cards, and even meet HIPAA and other compliance requirements.
- Perform bulk device configuration and firmware updates. Intelligent PDUs and other internet-enabled smart devices can be compromised so hackers can gain access to them and to your data center systems. A comprehensive DCIM solution allows you to make changes to the configuration of your intelligent PDUs in bulk to maximize security protections. When a manufacturer delivers a new firmware version with the latest security patches, you can save the file and roll it out to all supported devices simultaneously.
- Use granular, role-based permissions. Protect your data against the biggest enterprise security threat of all: your employees. Maintain permissions and prevent unauthorized changes by assigning different roles to users and user groups at granular levels. DCIM software integrates with your existing LDAP systems and Active Directory for an additional level of authentication so only authorized users can access your data center. Role-based permissions can easily be documented to show your compliance with company and regulatory policies.
- Monitor surveillance feeds. DCIM software supports feeds from IP and USB cameras to enable plug-and-play functionality that meets your specific security surveillance needs. Multiple feeds can be added to an HTML5 dashboard so that you can remotely monitor multiple areas or sites through the software itself.
- Get alerting, auditing, and reporting capabilities. It’s often the case that you’re not aware of a security breach until the damage has already been done. The speed of your response to unauthorized activity can be the difference between proactive prevention and reactive recovery efforts. Use DCIM to track when cabinet doors are open and if access attempts are successful with real-time notifications so you can identify unauthorized personnel and act accordingly. This information is captured in an audit log and in security reports to help with forensic analysis in case of a breach or other incident. Reporting can help you spot trends around access to different areas of your data center so you can identify and investigate suspicious activity.
Want to see how Sunbird’s world-leading DCIM software makes it easy for you to centrally secure your assets and data? Get your free test drive now!