Data centers are a critical node for the modern economy, supporting everything from mobile and cloud data to ride sharing to the Internet of Things. Data centers are among the most expensive construction projects on a per-square-foot basis and represent some of the most valuable real estate transactions on the market.
Due to the highly critical nature and value of a company’s data center, securing it at its perimeter is vital. The costs of this initiative pale in comparison to the costs an owner or operator may face if their facility is compromised. According to a 2015 Ponemon institute study, the average total cost of a data breach is $6.5 million, and these expenses include incident response, reputation damage, lost revenue, and increased customer acquisition cost after a data breach.
Data centers are intentionally designed to be nondescript buildings. The fact that these fortress buildings blend in to their environment and that most commuters barely give notice while passing by is often an element of a their data center security plan. This design approach is generally referred to as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, or CPTED.
CPTED intentionally blends the building into its natural environment and provides for natural surveillance, access, and territorial reinforcements. Details such as landscape, lighting, and entrances are all significant decisions when designing a data center. Typically there are no signs advertising the data center’s existence, and there are no welcoming parking lots or entrances for visitors.
Beyond blending the data center structure into its surroundings, there are many electronic and physical security solutions provided by Convergint that can be deployed at the perimeter to enhance protection and reduce the risk of compromising a data center.
1. Perimeter Barriers & Gates
Image Source: Ameristar Fence
A fencing solution should be at the core of a data center security strategy. Depending upon the sensitive nature of the facility, vehicle entrances should be protected by electric gates, bollards, and perhaps even a vehicle barrier. All staff and guests should be required to stop at a perimeter guard station that is physically or virtually staffed by security guards around the clock. Access control and PIAM solutions should also be extended to the perimeter to ensure maximum security and to certify that all staff and visitors are authorized to enter the gates.