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How to Physically Protect Your Data Centre

Over the past few decades, data has become a crucial component in the way we live in an increasingly digital age. Inevitably this has increased our reliance on data centres to protect and store our data.

The UK is home to the largest data centre market of anywhere else in Europe, and it’s thought there are between 250 and 300 data centres around Britain.

Whether that’s a hyper-scale data centre, or a smaller independently owned operation, security – from a physical perspective – has never been more important when it comes to securing sensitive data.

Why Is a Data Breach so Costly?

According to CS Online, a single data breach costs UK enterprises up to £2.8 million on average. Alongside financial implications, there are also regulator fines, damage to infrastructure and reputation and increased customer churn as a result too.

In fact, when it comes to damage to reputation and customer churn, Business Wire reports that up to 44% of consumers in the UK claim that they would stop spending money with a business after a breach, and 41% will turn their back on that business altogether.

This could have disastrous implications for smaller businesses – which shows just why it’s so important to have protection against physical attacks.

What Are the Most Important Parts of Physical Data Centre Security?

To layout and implement a successful data centre security plan, it’s important to think holistically and pinpoint the various weak points in your infrastructure that may need to be addressed.

#1: Protect the Property Boundary

Preventing unauthorised visitors should be the very first step when you’re looking to thwart any physical security breach. The idea is to identify, authenticate and discourage unwanted attention if necessary.

Your security approach for this first layer of defence, should include:

Monitored CCTV

By installing cameras around the premises, you can ensure that a trained team of security officers has eyes on your property at all times. Should a potential threat approach your property, the priority is to visually identify whether the approach is genuine using the identify, authenticate, and discourage method.

Controlled Access

Controlled access into the boundary of the property should include some protection to manage in and outgoings. Gates and barriers can be installed and remotely operated in conjunction with your CCTV systems and any audio communication devices.

Fencing

Specialised Hostile Vehicle Mitigation products, such as gates and bollards, to prevent any vehicle breaches, and mesh fencing with anti-climbing properties should all be considered.

Security Lighting

Contrary to popular belief, it’s important to increase the light sources on your property at night. By using security lighting to keep the building illuminated, not only are you deterring potential assailants, but also giving CCTV operators a clear view of the property in the dark. Static inverters should also be implemented to ensure that emergency lighting is working correctly inside the property.

#2: Protecting the Outer Property

The second crucial step in your plan is to protect the property and the area around it, since all movement within the initial boundary should be closely monitored, these measures should include:

Infrared

Infrared and thermal detectors can be used to detect movement within the closed site itself, should anyone manage to infiltrate the first security level.

Audio Deterrents

Once a potential intruder is tracked, audio warnings through specialised speaker systems (controlled by the CCTV operator) can be delivered to offer an effective deterrent to prevent an incident escalating any further.

Radar & Drones

In some cases, airspace above your data centre needs to be monitored just as closely as any other area of the premises. As drones are becoming more common place, data centres can utilise air radar surveillance to pinpoint potential threats from the air.

#3: Protecting Against Property Access

The next layer of data centre security is safeguarding the building’s exterior structure and preventing unauthorised access into the building.

Utilising surveillance and secure access, will give you a complete view to ensure only authorised personnel and approved visitors are entering the building, these include:

Fire & Intruder Alarm Infrastructure

Both of these things are crucial, since you’re not only safeguarding from potential break ins, damage, and theft, but also from potential arson attacks and accidental blazes too.

Central battery systems and emergency lighting, should also be installed to ensure that everyone in the event of a fire, accidental or not, can exit the property safely.

Interior CCTV

A full strategic CCTV camera placement plan should be undertaken from the outset to ensure that the entire interior of the building and all key access points should be monitored for potential threats.

#4: Within the Data Centre

The next layer of protection should be within the data centre itself to ensure that the server room is protected. Inside the server room is where the data is stored and it’s crucial that it is monitored closely.

Multi-Direction Cameras

Installing multi-directional cameras within the server room, ensuring that each blind spot is picked up is crucial to ensure that only authorised personnel are within the space.

Uninterruptible Power Systems

A UPS acts as a backup power system for memory-based hardware. Since your servers will be storing highly sensitive data, a UPS can prevent data loss should power loss or a physical attack prevent power reaching the servers.

Establish Key Personnel Access

Your server room must only be accessible through control doors. This means the door requires one or more locks, which should be monitored to prevent unauthorised entry.

You must also decide who is able to access the room and have a complete view on who is trying to enter it too.

If you’d like to learn more about what we’ve covered in this piece, or you’re interested in UPS power supply systems, or any of our other products or services, then why not contact us today for more information.

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