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The importance of physical security for data centres

April 29, 2022

The growing demand for cloud services and the adoption of digital technologies has driven a tremendous growth of data centres, and has further highlighted the importance of keeping data safe and secured.

While there is a strong focus on cybersecurity, physical intrusion and unauthorised access also account for a huge proportion of threats to a data centre and, whether it’s a large-scale data centre or a smaller business owner operated data centre, theft or damage of data could become a significant interruption to service levels.

A multi-layered physical security approach, which combines protection on the outside all the way to the server room, can help to minimise any security threat and help to keep data safe.

Perimeter and building approach

Perimeter fencing and gates provide the first security layer for most data centre facilities and adding intrusion detection technologies can help security teams get an early alert of an intrusion and prevent unauthorised access.

Once someone has entered the perimeter, precise and reliable volumetric detection around the building can support video surveillance and will allow the security team to track down the location of intrusion, and whether it is one or several individuals.

Securing the building structure

Most data centre buildings and certainly the server rooms do not have exterior windows and few entry points. However, protection of the building structure could prevent a potential threat such as drilling a hole or accessing through the ventilation system. Wall mounted fibre optic sensors can detect drilling or attempts to damage to the wall or ceiling. LiDAR technology can provide an alternative and additional security layer by creating virtual walls or roofs to protect the building.

Access security and tailgating detection

Controlling access to the building or secured areas is of vital importance. One of the risks is if an unauthorised person follows an authorised one, either forced or accidentally. Installing an anti-tailgating system combined with an access control system (card reader, biometry etc.) can alert security and verify the access to the secured area.

If the access into the building is via turnstiles, LiDAR technology can provide additional protection by creating a virtual wall above the turnstiles, set one detection zone per turnstile and when connected to the access control system, it will detect a person going through a turnstile without swiping his/her access card.

Server rooms

At the heart of data centres is the server room, an area of restricted access, usually only accessible to technicians and engineers who need to maintain, upgrade or repair the equipment. The security of the room will involve ensuring only authorised personnel get into the room and that they only access the server racks which need to be manipulated.

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LiDAR sensors with its flexible detection are able to operate in even complete darkness and are the best suited technology to protect server rooms. 2D LiDARs can create virtual ceilings, floors and walls, allowing customizable detection areas to effectively ‘cocoon’ the server units.

The sensors can also create different detection zones to protect the different server racks and can be linked to the access control system so in the event of an individual who was authorised to access rack one, but was tampering with rack two, the security system would be activated and could be set to trigger the access control and lock the room. The size of the target object can also be customized to provide an alert if something as small as a USB stick goes through the detection beam. A further benefit of using REDSCAN LiDARs for computer room protection is that they operate in variable lighting, even complete darkness and in cold environments.

Get in touch with our team for more information and advice on how to protect a data centre or server room.

Dahua
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