A Logical Approach to Physical Data Center Protection

Data centers are commonplace in the commercial and industrial sectors and yet they offer numerous security challenges. From initial risk assessment to implementing solutions to ongoing maintenance, find out how to cover all the bases to effectively keep these critical areas out of harm’s way.

<p>Determining what is needed to secure a data center requires upfront work and forethought. Work with your system user to perform a thorough risk assessment. This will guide the physical and logical security design. illustration ©istockphoto.com/alexsl</p>Creating a Security Program

Sit down with your end user and help them create and deploy a security program that will meet their unique needs. You can offer assistance on how to define policies and procedures and deploy them. Examine different deterrent security and detection measures, and help them choose which ones best fit the company culture and meet their needs.

Do they need security guards? How many? What will be the responsibilities of the security guard? Will they work round the clock or are two shifts sufficient? Answering these questions upfront will help accurately budget for security personnel.

Define the system to be used while establishing a criteria list to design for each specific site. It’s the task of the security designer to match the environment and application to the design criteria to come up with the best security layout. Don’t underestimate this! This is the cornerstone of the system.

Consider the criticality of security to business operations. What are the implications if the system fails? Fault tolerance or redundancy may be needed to avert a risk. Investigate the best solutions for your customers and be sure they integrate with the access control system. Do the work upfront to ensure system failure does not occur, and if it does, their fault tolerant solution will take care of it.

Review every aspect of security, even the far-out, exceptional situations. It’s those cases the bad guys will discover and exploit.

Optimize, Train and Maintain

Choose a security management solution with more flexibility and growth potential than you think your end user will need. A high-end system with a small number of doors often costs the same or only a little more than a system that will soon be outgrown or outdated. Avoid ripping out a cheaper system because your end user missed one additional feature they realized they needed.

Any system is only as good as its weakest link, which is usually not the technology or design, but how the technology is used and how consistently it’s used. Review all system features and teach your customer about them. In the end, it’s up to them whether or not they implement the features and receive the benefits; however, they can always grow into t
heir system. Encourage your customer to work in phases so as not to be overwhelmed, and assist them through each phase to be sure they are maximizing their investment.

Conduct training sessions to thoroughly teach your customer how to operate the security system. The more your customer feels comfortable with the security system you installed, the better life is for them and you. Your customer will feel confident in their abilities to effectively operate the system and will look to you as a trusted advisor, returning to you again and again for questions, training and product upgrades. You will build your relationship and maintain a customer for life.

You can also train upper management and hold security officer training classes. Provide a forum for questions and open communication. Your customer will appreciate your hands-on training and time, and the system users will thoroughly learn the system.

Encourage your customer to have written policies and procedures and stick to them. Employees need to understand the sensitivity and security procedures must be followed to ensure the data center is properly protected. Some security software features provide an enhanced module to assist with this.

Choose a security system that provides a cost-effective upgrade path. Security systems are installed today, and expanded upon tomorrow. Whether it is adding doors, cameras or monitoring points, systems rarely remain stagnant. Plan for this. Encourage your end user to choose a system that will easily expand. It’s worth the extra upfront time to investigate all product options, and the added cost of an easily expandable security system is worth it. Your end user will save money (and headaches) in the long run! Show them how they will save and they will thank you for it.

Don’t forget a security system needs maintenance. Many manufacturers offer a professional services program to assist end users with planning, support and maintenance. While there is an initial cost to take advantage of these programs, the benefits far outweigh the costs. They include fault-tolerant implementation, top-level technical support, custom scripting, and lifecycle management to ensure your customers experience maximum performance and return on investment for their security systems. Due to the criticality of a data center, investing in professional services may eliminate expensive surprises because your customer planned for them.

To sum up, help your customers plan their data center security as another business-critical system. Implement a layered approach to security and install systems that work for the specific environment. Take the time to find products that will grow with the business, and expand to support additional business applications. Doing the work upfront will save time, money and headaches later, and your customer will thank you tenfold.   

Kim Rahfaldt is Public Relations Manager for AMAG Technology. She can be reached at [email protected]   

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.

A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!

Get Our Newsletters