Physical Security In the Data Center: Back On the Radar

July 10, 2015
John Matis

In a recent report titled “Global Data Center Physical Security Market 2015-2019,” London-based technology market research firm Technavio outlines a bright future for the global data center physical security industry.

Because data centers are expected to grow significantly in the coming year, and because data center service providers are continuing to look for innovative ways to mitigate or eliminate threats in their facilities, Technavio expects the security market to grow significantly. Technavio's analysts forecast that the global data center physical security market will grow at a CAGR of 13.47% from 2014-2019.

Those in the data center physical security market are no doubt pleased at the findings of this report. Even for those not directly affiliated with physical security in the data center, this report marks a good setting off point for a conversation about the importance of physical security.

Rising Concerns About Physical Security

If you think that physical security shouldn’t be a large part of the security equation in today’s digital world, think again.

Earlier this month, a prisoner jailed for carjacking walked away from a work release program and ended up in a Delaware data center. He’d made his way in through a broken door. Even though nothing was stolen, the event was serious enough to raise the hackles of those in the data center space.

Physical break-ins in the data center aren’t one-off events, either. In a blog post last year, we highlighted several data center break-ins that could have been prevented with better security. Hard drives stolen from the data center of Health Net, an insurance agency, tipped off operators to a breach in the order of almost 2 million members’ personal information. And these are just two examples.

As data breaches and downtime grow more and more costly, companies operating their own data centers and using colocation providers for outsourced services are right to be concerned about physical security. Indeed, digital threats are more pervasive than ever. But that hardly means it's okay to dismiss the physical side of security.

The same piece from TechTarget in which writer Robert Gates told the story of the break-in in Delaware addresses similar concerns. Wholesale service providers Gates spoke with noted an increase in inquiries about physical security amid rising security consciousness in the industry. (We’ve seen a similar rise in inquiries amongst our own clients at Telx.) John Orloff, SVP of Security Risk Management at Hillard Heintze, also remarked to Gates that physical security has “become front of mind for everyone.”

Whatever you attribute it to, there’s no doubt that there’s a rising concern about physical security among companies that utilize data center space, either internally or externally.

What to Watch For

So what exactly makes a secure data center?

Part of it is, as we mentioned, antivirus programs, firewalls, and the like to guard against cybercriminals and expensive data breaches. Physical security is also an important part of the equation. It's important to make sure that your data center is protected from theft, vandalism, and more.

As we see it, a secure data center is fortified by:

  • Solide Gebäudekonstruktion
  • Umfangreiche Sicherheitsvorkehrungen
  • Zuverlässige Stromversorgungen
  • Adequate climate control
  • Physische Zutrittskontrolle

Coupled with knowledgeable staff and a well thought out security strategy, all of these elements work together to ensure your data stays safe. Different companies manage physical security in different ways, but the general parameters outlined above are a good starting point.

Physical Security In Telx Facilities

At Telx, physical security across all of our facilities is a priority. We hold ourselves to the parameters outlined above, from solid building construction to appropriate protection from intruders.

Our NJR3 facility is an excellent example. Located at 100 Delawanna Ave on our Clifton Campus (also home to NJR2), NJR3 represents the pinnacle of physical security. Before even entering the premises, visitors are screened at a checkpoint with barriers that keep intruders out. The building itself is constructed with security in mind, as well, and all visitors to the facility are screened by biometric access and monitored with digital video monitoring and recording.

Throw in 24/7/365 manned security, and chances of a threat or intruder stumbling in are exponentially smaller than in the situations outlined earlier in this piece.

Security is never a “set it and forget it” situation; it requires constant vigilance. Our facilities are designed with that in mind. Learn more about our comprehensive oversight at our data center security page here.

Conclusion

If physical security is top-of-mind for your organization, you're not alone. With a growing number of potential threats, both digital and physical, it's no wonder tht there's also a growing market for physical data center security products as outlined by Technavio.

It's absolutely essential to include physical security as part of your overall security strategy. Failing to do so can be costly in a variety of ways.

Have questions about this post, or about how Telx handles physical security in the data center? Reach out to us via the contact page of our site, or by Facebook or Twitter. We would love to answer any questions you may have.

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