Everything You Need to Know About Physical Security for Data Centers

If you own a business or run a company, you know that keeping your data center secure is incredibly important. That’s where all of your intel, intellectual property, and information is stored. 

Data centers hold computer and network equipment, also known as network infrastructure. This can include routers, servers, firewalls, storage systems, and more. All of this works together to store a wealth of information. Loss of data can be devastating for your company. 

A breach at your data center can be more than just a headache; it can mean a lot of money, time, and trust lost. When it comes to protecting your data, you need to think beyond traditional cybersecurity. A major component of data center security is physical security. Here, we’ll provide an overview of ways to help ensure data center security. 


What Is Physical Security for Data Centers? 

Often, data centers are off-site from your organization, and sometimes you’ll even have your data stored in a data center that houses data centers for many organizations. Physical security protects the people who work inside the data center as well as the assets and property. 

Protecting a data center isn’t just about protecting it from hacks or attempts to steal the data. Physical security can also protect the data center from natural disasters, theft, and terrorism. In order to protect the data itself, physical security needs to protect the physical space. Data center security requirements may change for each individual data center, but the bottom line is that every center should have the maximum amount of security that makes sense for its organization. 

How to Create Physical Security for Data Centers 

From security cameras and fire alarm systems to careful site selection, there are many ways you can work to ensure the physical security of your data center. The more you pile on layers of security, the more you can trust that your data is well protected. 

Design with Location in Mind

If you are just starting to think about storing your data in a data center, keep the location of your data center in mind before you make any final decisions. Do what you can to store your data in a low-risk area. For example, make sure it’s in an area that isn’t prone to power outages, and also make sure the building has access to water and other utilities. 

Keep natural disasters in mind when choosing or building a data center as well. Whenever possible, choose a location that is not prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires. The more you can design a data center to be secure from the get-go, the more your information will be protected. 

Fire Alarm System Design

Use Access Control 

Access control is a significant component of physical security for data centers. It controls who can enter the building and thus who has access to the data and equipment. Ideally, it’s best to install an anti-passback access control system that prevents one person from piggybacking in behind another. This keeps out unwanted people, and it also helps you keep track of who is in the building in the event you need to investigate a security threat. 

When designing access control, think hard about the entrances to the data center. Ideally, there should only be one main point of entry. From there, it’s good to include layers of access control. You can require access control at an outer facility entrance, at the building entrance, and at the data center floor or room. You can also assign role-based permissions so that people can only access what they need to access to do their job. It’s important to remember that threats often come from within. 

Additionally, consider using biometrics as well as two-factor authentication. This helps keep unwanted people out. By leveraging your access control, you can have a lot of oversight on the data center.  

Gate Access control YT thumbnail

Erect Physical Barriers

Unauthorized people should not be able to walk right up to the door of your access center. Consider installing physical fences outside the building to keep people out. The best fences are made of steel or concrete. Physical barriers can include bollards as well. 

Monitor the Building

It’s important to be able to keep a close eye on your data center and to be able to respond to threats in a timely manner. Monitored security cameras should be installed in every data center. 

Additionally, employ security guards to keep the building safe and secure. There should be security guards on the premises 24/7. It’s a good idea to have a security guard man an outer entry. Security guards can also monitor cameras and patrol the grounds both inside and outside as well. 

video surveillance Monitoring station

Protect the Inside of the Building 

To protect the equipment and the data itself, you need to ensure the inside of the building stays safe and protected. Protecting the inside of the building can include controlling the temperature and humidity. Having a quality and advanced HVAC system can ensure the equipment in the data center stays in working order. 

Additionally, you should install a fire alarm system as well as a water leakage detector. Both of these systems will alert you to emergency events that need to be acted on immediately. 

Plan For Outages

It’s important to think ahead when creating physical security systems for a data center. For example, you should have a high-quality generator that can handle all of your network equipment. You should also create processes to move any traffic away from the data center in case of an outage. 

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