NTT Whitepapers

Data Center Physical Security White Paper

NTT Com Data Center and colocation services

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1 Scope Data centers have always been critical – they are too expensive to build and operate to be otherwise - but as commercial activity moves on-line, they command an ever more critical role for organisations and their customers. The risks, costs and consequences associated with any disruption to their operation and the services they provide increase also. Demand for data center storage and processing capacity shows no sign of slowing. Based on the volume of digital data being created by consumers and businesses and also on the rapid expansion in machine to machine (M2M) communications and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the demand for data center space will therefore grow from 37.7 million m 2 in 2015 to 45.6 million m 2 in 2020 according to DCD Intelligence [DCDi] ( 1 ). This growth in space according to DCDi will be accounted for almost entirely by colocation, hosting, IT service and cloud providers. This changes the security focus among organisations that were previously guarding their data on-premises who are now trusting it to an external provider. As organisations look further to cloud and software-defined servers, storage and networks as a means of meeting their IT workload so their trust will also be put in digital as well as physical infrastructure. Research conducted by DCDi over the past three years indicates strongly that two of the key hesitations that the market has about deploying cloud relate to security of the network, and also to the security of the provider data center ( 2 ). This increasing need for assurance to the security of IT footprint hosted externally and/or in environments that are digital rather than visible means new questions need to be asked of physical security. Just as with the supply of any resource in support of IT infrastructure, so security can be under-provisioned and not be adequate, or be over-provisioned and be excessive for what is realistically required. So, what is the 'right' provisioning for physical security? And how can an organisation work out what is 'right'? This paper, which has been researched and produced by DCDi in association with (and commissioned by) NTT Communications [NTT Com], provides an overview of why physical data center security matters as well as guidelines as to the provisioning of physical security and how a proper auditing process can assist in this. It outlines current deployment trends alongside conclusions and recommendations on best practice for building strong security measures into current hosting facilities. We hope it will assist companies and their staff responsible for reviewing and maintaining their own security procedures, whether protecting IT located and managed in-house or that housed in colocation or outsourced environments. 3 The key changes currently sweeping through the data center industry means that any organisation in any way reliant on IT for its survival will need to deal with the impact of those changes on the security of the data centers where their IT is housed. Assessing the Security Need Cost-Effectively "A common misconception among organisations with compliance requirements is that putting racks in a cage is a necessity. Cages are expensive to build – not just in terms of initial set up cost but ongoing rents as you need to use other access routes and take up a lot of dead space which has to be charged for – they are also not very scalable. So the customer will end up with something that is way too expensive or way too small, particularly if the space around has been sold to other customers. In this situation where a customer may have to extend their footprint in a cage located elsewhere in the data center or in another building it may also raise issues of connectivity between the customer's various cages, and the costs of this". Dan Sherburn, Colocation Product Manager for NTT Com in Europe

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