Data Center Physical Security a Huge Concern for Companies

One of in-house data center’s biggest issues is physical security. Learn how outsourced data center providers make physical security a priority.

Why Data Center Providers Deliver Better Physical Security than In-House Teams

Can data center providers better secure physical access to your data center? It’s an important question to ask if you’re considering whether to keep your data center in-house or outsource data center services to a colocation provider. Once you move your IT infrastructure outside your four walls, data center physical security becomes even more critical.

According to a survey conducted by the SANS Institute,1 three of the top five security concerns for enterprise data centers are at least in part physical:

  • Controlling and managing physical access to the IT equipment through secured racks, cabinets, cages, and other enclosures so that logical security controls cannot be easily subverted.
  • Controlling and managing social engineering threats from well-intentioned people, such as an employee who lends someone her badge to access the data center or the cleaning person who holds open the door open for someone carrying equipment.
  • Controlling and managing insiders within the organization who can have information about and/or access to the data center—employees, former employees, contractors, vendors, even customers—and may have malicious intent.

Different colocation providers offer different levels of physical data center security. Some may have private entrances that direct customers to their dedicated spaces, while others employ multi-layered physical security best practices that can include traffic bollards and mantraps up to biometric access controls and armed security guards.

But the best colocation providers deliver higher levels of data center security than most organizations can do on their own because physical security is one of their core competencies. In other words, it would simply be cost prohibitive for organizations to achieve the same level of data center security as a colocation provider without sacrificing investments in their own core competencies.

For example, best practices world-class colocation providers often provide:

  • Best-in-class physical security monitoring and control.
  • Physical and logical systems and processes to secure against insider threats.
  • Complete physical separation for your IT infrastructure.
  • Software that monitors the physical data center environment, such as data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software.
  • The ability to extend your internal network without using the public Internet for transport services.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery that’s easy to set up and maintain.

Because physical data center security is a core competency, world-class colocation providers employ security experts to ensure that every possible threat vector is covered. These security experts understand technology inside out. They’re on top of the latest threat assessments and security protocols, and they’re on the alert for new vulnerabilities and emerging points of attack, such as drones.

At IO, we employ expert security professionals who use industry-leading security measures to provide a baseline level of physical security for your data center. We synergistically protect the data center from threats that a potential adversary might attack it with—from external physical threats to insider threats, both malicious and unintentional.

Read more in the Data Security in an Insecure World solution guide.


1“The State of Dynamic Data Center and Cloud Security in the Modern Enterprise,” SANS.org, 10/2015.