Countering the Threat of Physical Security Breaches in Colocation Centers

March 2, 2017 Rachel Pilgren-Kane

In today’s world, data is fast becoming the new global currency and as data volumes continue to grow at an exponential rate, the issue of data security continues to cause concern within the industry. While there is widespread awareness of the many digital attacks that compromise data, less is said about the physical threats to information stored in data centers.

Despite extensive measures in place to secure the perimeter of a data center, often the biggest threat to security can come from within. It is not uncommon for individuals entering these facilities to cause accidental security breaches. In fact, IBM Research states that 45 percent of breaches occur as a result of unauthorized access, costing over $400B annually.

This issue is particularly prevalent for colocation data center providers, who host data cabinets for multiple clients. Each server cabinet should be secured at the rack level with access only granted to authorized personnel. Traditionally, access to individual racks has been protected by key-based systems with manual access management. In some instances, data center managers have turned to a more advanced coded key system, but even this approach provides little in the way of security—and no record of who has accessed the data center cabinets.

Electronic Access Solutions Enhance Physical Security

To alleviate the problem of unauthorized access and concerns surrounding data security, traditional security systems are quickly being replaced by intelligent electronic access solutions. Above all, these solutions provide a comprehensive locking facility while offering fully embedded monitoring and tracking capabilities. They are a vital element of a fully integrated access-control system, bringing reliable access management to the individual rack. The system also enables the creation of individual access credentials for different parts of the rack, all while eliminating the need for cages, thereby saving costs.

Simplified Installation

Any physical-security upgrade in the data center has its issues, of course. Uninstalling existing security measures in favour of new ones costs both time and money, which is why data center owners are turning toward more-intelligent security systems such as electronic-locking swinghandles, which can be integrated into new and existing secure server-rack facilities. They employ existing lock panel cut outs, eliminating the need for drilling and cutting. This approach allows for lock standardisation in the data center, saving considerable time (and therefore cost)—something that holds real value given the pressing demand for data center services.

Credential Management

Physical access to the rack can be obtained using an RFID card, pin code combination, BLUETOOTH®, Near Field Communication (NFC) or biometric identifications. The addition of a manual override key lock allows emergency access to the server cabinet. Even in the event that security needs to be overridden, an electronic access solution can still track the audit trail, monitoring time and rack activity. Solutions such as this have been designed to lead protection efforts against physical security breaches in data centers all over the world.

By enhancing security at the individual rack level, providers can restrict rack access to only those with authority, which is especially relevant in colocated data centers, where data cabinets are under threat from both accidental and malicious breaches. Installing the right  electronic access solution can help to eliminate costly breaches in a short time-frame and maximize colocation security.

For more information about Southco’s Data Center security solutions visit

The post Countering the Threat of Physical Security Breaches in Colocation Centers appeared first on Southco Blog.

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