When devising a security strategy for data centers, it’s important to remember that data centers are also buildings, or compartments within buildings. As with any structure used for business, some level of building security should be provided. For a basic office building, the security system might be as simple as access control for the doors and locks so that only employees with the proper swipe cards or codes can enter. Other buildings also make use of video surveillance technology such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems.
Where do most data centers fall on the continuum of buildings needing security? The building security need for an average data center is higher than the typical office space, but less stringent than what is needed at an international airport, for example. For data centers that store sensitive credit card information or personal identification numbers, the need for building security can be very high.
Common architecture allows for cost-effective integration
Data center professionals who are contemplating security improvements need to consider two factors:
- 1. The level of system integration needed
- 2. The degree to which security impacts their business
Building security systems have evolved to become more like enterprise-level IT systems, with underlying databases, graphical user interfaces, and the ability to generate performance reports or handle queries. Since data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software is often used to optimize data center operations, the potential for cost-effective integration between security and DCIM systems is high. Access alarm records from security systems can be fed to the DCIM system, for instance, into a dashboard tracking data center performance.
The impact of security on your business is also important to consider when contemplating integration. A modest office building with only a small wiring closet likely requires little integration beyond simple access control. Larger data centers like those that rent space to e-tailers and others tout rock solid security as an important aspect of their competitive advantage.