The other day I was reading a news story about hollow coins being used for espionage and it inadvertently got me thinking about server room security issues. While I’m still not 100% sure of the best way to protect your facility against Canadian spy coins, I am aware of a number of techniques for guarding against unauthorized server room access.
To reduce downtime from accidents or sabotage due to the presence of unnecessary or malicious people, it’s important to implement server room security measures that account for a wide variety of potential threats. Whether building a new facility or renovating an old one, you’ll want to begin by mapping out your server room and identifying its most vulnerable areas. These may include access points, sensitive IT equipment and critical elements of the physical infrastructure.
Controlling Access to the Server Room
Server room security begins with controlling access to your facility. Security cards, biometrics and other auditable methods are commonly used to limit who is able to gain entry into the server room, but these methods can only do so much. Security cards, keys or passwords can fall into the wrong hands, while biometrics devices are expensive and may accidentally keep out people who should have access.
If these were your only options, it would be a tradeoff between lower security with convenience and higher security with hassles. By pairing either of these methods with backups such as IP-based camera surveillance, security guards or dry contact sensors, your server room is much better protected. Rather than relying on one strategy, a combination of security measures will provide the best result, particularly if they grow more stringent as you move toward the heart of the facility. By combining methods, you increase reliability.
Reinforcing Physical Infrastructure
From the ground up, the physical infrastructure of your facility should also contribute to your server room security. It pays to incorporate architectural and construction features that discourage or thwart intrusion. For example, make sure the walls of your server room extend past the ceiling, to the roof, to eliminate potential break-in points.
Reinforcing the physical infrastructure of your facility does more than just protect mission-critical IT equipment from theft or sabotage; it also gives protection to HVAC systems, power generators and fire suppression systems – anything that, if compromised, could result in downtime.
Securing IT Equipment
In addition to network security measures, it is important to implement physical security for IT equipment. Within the server room, rack-level security is a top concern. Rack locks defend against unauthorized access to critical equipment by limiting who can touch what. Not only does this help prevent sabotage, it also reduces the number of accidents and mistakes caused by workers interacting with technology that they may not be qualified to use.
Choosing a Security Solution
Every facility has its own unique security needs. When designing a security plan for your server room, carefully weigh your options. The goal is to find an acceptable compromise between security and its expense. By combining an assessment of risk tolerance with an analysis of available technologies and access requirements, it is possible to find an affordable, effective solution that will be accepted by users.