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Physical Site Security

Wednesday, 20 November 2013  |  Codelocks Marketing

While many data centres use sophisticated biometric security and CCTV cameras to control access from the outside, they often use old-fashioned locks and keys to secure racks and cabinets on the inside.

Grant Macdonald, Managing Director of Codelocks, looks at how digital cabinet locks bring a more high-tech solution to internal access control.

Access to data centres is tightly controlled with many facilities employing state-of-the-art security solutions to monitor and control the flow of visitors coming in and out of the building. On the inside, it’s the role of the operations manager to make sure that server cabinets are securely locked and – in the case of colocation data centres – only accessible to the owner of the equipment inside the cabinet. To do this, many operations managers still use the locks and keys originally supplied with the data cabinets, while some use bespoke padlocks and keys. At full capacity, a large data centre might have hundreds of locked cabinets and managing the keys on such a large scale can be a problematic task.

This is especially the case in co-location data centres, where different technicians and service support staff need access to their own servers. The operations manager needs to ensure that the master keys are kept safe and an audit trail is kept for each key issued. When keys go missing, as they often do, a replacement key needs to be cut. However, simply replacing a key does not necessarily regain ‘control’ of the lock, to do this ideally the whole mechanism should be replaced, and if this is a regular occurrence, it can be a very costly and time-consuming process.

There will also be occasions where technicians or service employees simply forget to bring the key with them when they visit a colocation data centre. When that happens the operations manager has to stop what he or she is doing and retrieve the master key in order to give the engineer access. The whole process can slow the customer down and is disruptive for everyone.