Secured Entrances: A Cost-Savings Imperative for Data Centers

Organizations are increasingly looking for ways to do more with less. This basically applies to every aspect of daily operations, from human resources to building operations, physical and cyber security to general maintenance and groundskeeping. Few if any business units are exempted from this mandate, and all are expected to comply. Data centers are no exception, as they continue to play an increasingly prominent role as integral components within an organization’s infrastructure, or as independent business entities.

Cost savings measures can impact many different aspects of operation. While data centers biggest expenses can easily be related to obvious expenditures for providing infrastructure to the white spaces necessities, and the technologies to improve power usage efficiency (PUE),, there are other pragmatic ways to save money, such as focusing on labor allocations.

The implementation of high-security technologies is typically classified as a business cost-centric expense, but is in fact an area where cost savings can be achieved while fortifying cyber-physical security. This provides data center management with a great opportunity to reimagine physical security, specifically with secured entrances that improve workflow and process resiliency to deliver tangible ROI and ensure compliance.

There is no doubt that COVID accelerated growth in the data center industry, driving every level of operation from small colocation facilities to larger enterprise level data centers. The continued growth and reliance of data centers has heightened the requirements for certifications and compliance, and the way customers evaluate and select data centers for their organizations’ valuable data assets. Unfortunately, the associated costs of compliance are not easily passed back to customers. This also applies to the never-ending costs of updating data centers with the latest processing and environmental solutions. All this makes additional CAPEX investments and commitments to ancillary technologies such as secured entrances even more challenging.

So how can a secured entrance strategy contribute to cost-savings and be future proofed to avoid obsolescence?

 Security entrances properly designed can help reduce labor. Entry and exit points in a facility typically comprise an aggregation of disparate systems that may include any of the following: vehicle gates, PACS, video management, visitor management, and physical barriers or doors that are part of a layered security approach and linked together by strict policy and procedure governance. The addition of a security interlocking portal equipped with biometric multifactor identity authentication can autonomously, without bias, detect if the person in the portal is the right person being granted access, and if there is more than one person inside the interlocking portal. Preventing unauthorized access to critical areas ensures the security of an organization’s people and data while maintaining compliance with the GLBA Safeguards Rule. All this can be accomplished without requiring security personnel to supervise entry/exits points, further contributing to ROI of the interlocking portal.

Futureproofing a security entrance such as a mantrap portal involves the same principles as IT and Network infrastructure. This includes segmentation, redundancy, and automated issue resolution. In doing so, the secured entry design will never be obsolete, providing low total cost of ownership (TCO) over the lifespan of the device.

Intelligent security entrances also capture valuable real time intelligence. Not only is this good for risk reduction, data collected by sensor systems embedded in secured entrances provide security personnel with unbiased intelligence they can use to help predict and quantify their actual risk of infiltration. This transforms physical security into a preventive and proactive solution that can help effectively mitigate risks and reduce liabilities.

Future proofed security entrance designs can also help better maintain environmental conditions within data centers by providing contamination controls and preventing drafts from altering critical temperature requirements in data centers, maintaining essential operating conditions to conserve energy costs. Unlike conventional swing and sliding door entrances that allow unfiltered air to rush in to displace the controlled internal atmosphere, security revolving doors and interlocking portals are always closed, supporting better building management efficiencies, and also helping to prevent possible contamination.

Additionally, secured entry solutions automatically enforce compliance and automate issue resolution processes. This helps keep personnel from performing menial tasks like employee, visitor, or contractor check-ins, so they can focus on customer service-level agreements (SLAs) that provide revenue generation. While industry visitor pass-down and pre-registration is a standard post-COVID practice across all industries today, “smart lobbies” will eventually be commonplace. Such lobbies are now being equipped with automated kiosks that function like Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs). Such solutions are paving the way for utilizing remote attendants to assist with access management issues, saving millions of dollars across large enterprises.

Deploying purpose-built secured entry solutions are proven to reduce costs related to security personnel and false alarm management, while helping to maintain compliance to various government and industry-imposed regulations and internal security policies. Moreover, smart secured entrances effectively protect the personal safety of those within your facility and your organization’s housed data.

A well thought out security entrance strategy is a smart CAPEX investment that will pay for itself in months – not years – making it a new imperative for data centers today.

Mark Perkins