How Physically Secure Is Your Data Center?

September 10, 2014
John Matis

In 2006, after a line of break-ins affecting communications companies, thieves broke into a London data center, stealing a number of router cards and disrupting voice and data cervices to businesses in London.

Something similar happened a few years later. Thieves broke into a Vodafone data center in Basingstoke, England, stealing networking equipment and once again bringing about an outage for many customers in the UK.

More recently, an insurance agency called Health Net estimated that up to 1.9 million of its members could have had their personal information breached. The first sign? Operators of its data center notified Health Net of several missing server hard drives. As Wall Street and Tech notes, “Health Net was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, and the company was sued in civil court citing HIPAA regulations.”

These are just a few of many stories that all have a common theme: poor data center security.

With so much talk today about data breaches traced back to data leaks (and for good reason—data breaches are a big problem in this day and age) it’s easy to forget that physical security in a data center is important, too. Although you may not think of data centers as a big target for thieves, data centers are a target-rich environment that can be susceptible to theft or other threats if not properly looked out for.

In that same Wall Street and Tech article, Natalie Lehrer points out three important strategies for creating physical security around a data center: establish a perimeter, segregate loading and storage, and organize your power and cabling. Although the latter two tips are aimed mostly at businesses building their own data centers, they’re still valuable strategies to keep in mind for anyone colocating, too.

We urge all of our clients to take a serious look at the physical security of the data center they want to outsource to, and pride ourselves on our focus on security across our fleet of data centers. Our ATL1 data center, for example, features 24/7/365 lobby and facility staff, complete, state-of-the art camera surveillance and monitoring, and requires both biometric and keycard verification at multiple points before entry. Security is also provided at the rack, cage, or suite level—all of which is to say that you’re much less susceptible to physical threats than you would be in other data centers with lesser security.

We urge you to ask yourself how physically secure your data center really is. If you’re unsure or if you’d like to learn more about what Telx does to ensure physical security, reach out to us via the contact page of our site, or by Facebook or Twitter.

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