How the latest IP-based intelligent security systems protect IT cabinets

With the ever increasing demand on data security and protection we explore how utilising the latest IP-based intelligent security systems protect IT cabinets and why they are a necessary requirement in today’s IT environments.

With regional, national, and enterprise level compliance mandates driving greater levels of data protection, IT and security managers are increasingly compelled to look for new levels of security beyond just controlling access to their data centre buildings and computer rooms. Meeting the needs for business continuity and regulatory compliance requires a proactive approach. Without real-time monitoring and access control of critical IT assets, companies could be exposed to great financial risk, and reputational damage due to breaches of physical security. Controlling perimeter access to the data centre is no longer enough.

In today’s interconnected and global operating environment, companies’ assets are now increasingly information-based and intangible. As a result the security of this information, including the physical security of the IT assets that store this valuable data are vital to the integrity and well-being of the organisation.

Today, physical security systems encompass physical access, video surveillance and storage, identity management, and much more.  Alarm systems are used to protect facilities and their contents from unlawful entry and access to corporate assets are safeguarded by the use of employee ID badges, software application passwords, and other access control technologies, such as magnetic cards and readers to biometric finger scans.

While these security systems are all designed to deliver a common objective, the systems that protect physical assets and those that protect IT assets have evolved separately and as a result there is a lack of integration and interoperability between the physical and IT security world.  With today’s heightened security concerns, this lack of integration increases security risks and limits companies’ efforts to establish centralised control of security and develop integrated risk management strategies.  Without an integrated approach to security, organisations are simply unable to pursue cost synergies, fully address privacy issues, or ensure compliance with a growing number of government, industry, and enterprise-level regulations.

With over 70 percent of companies today outsourcing some IT function, coupled with the growing trend to migrate physical IT operations to multi-tenant co-location data centres, the sharing of IT infrastructure and the security implications of managing remote assets are real world issues.  Data centres are especially vulnerable due to unmanned locations and mixed vendor environments with frequent third-party service intervention.  In many situations, complex access control is required beyond the physical environment and building perimeter — namely at the IT asset level, to cabinets front and rear, rack shelves, access panels, cable trays and patch panels.

Leading edge IP based micro-security systems currently available in the market, such as the TZ Centurion and TZ Praetorian, utilise state-of-the-art intelligent locking devices that offer open and extendable solutions which, provide for integrated security and protection, visibility and an audit trail to your organisation’s most valuable and sensitive assets where it really matters – at the IT equipment cabinet level.

Traditionally, security at the rack level has relied, at best, on the effective management of keys and / or combination lock codes, or at worst – on trust. However, in a recent government survey relating to information security breaches, 75% of large organisations reported suffering a staff related security breach in the previous year. 81% of large organisations stated that there was an element of staff involvement in some of the data breaches that they suffered, representing a 40% increase on the previous year. In some IT environments cabinets do not even have doors fitted. The keys supplied with a locking cabinet are not unique, combination locks have a finite number of permutations, and many engineers hold a master for all cabinets.

By taking one of the traditional approaches above to protect IT cabinets, there is no reliable way to provide an audit trail for authorised or unauthorised accesses, length of access, who had access, or if the cabinet door was in fact closed and secured afterwards.  The latest IP based micro-protection systems can provide the solution and help improve the physical security of racks and the IT assets they contain. Intelligent locking, such as that provided by the TZ SlideHandle, enables maximum physical security, but without the keys and key management issues. Both TZ rack access control systems track, report and trigger alarms on activities and events at a cabinet door level through real-time notifications. Offering complete versatility, with TZ electronic locks being capable of being retrofitted to the majority of data centre cabinet types or cages and locking systems integrated into a range of available building access control systems allowing the user to trace cabinet access back to the first point of entry to the building or campus. Additionally, embedded micro-processing within EDP’s intelligent RackANGEL solution enables the locking devices to provide control logic that automates in-cabinet actions such as turning on CCTV, fans, lighting and local alarms. By combining IP based intelligent locking with in-cabinet CCTV, a customer can view real-time or historical events as required. IP based systems enable access to cabinet doors to be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world, while biometric access cards that are compatible with most entry systems enable dual authentication without the need to invest in replacing existing card read infrastructure or the security concerns surrounding the storage and management of the biometric data.

IP based intelligent rack access control systems give clients’ the visibility and control required for protecting their IT infrastructure and intellectual assets in today’s data driven economy. To discuss a requirement you might have or to find out more information please contact us.