Companies prefer to store their critical hardware and data within third-party colocation centers. One of the main reasons is because these centers have superior procedural and physical security measures. These procedures encompass physical access to servers and hardware. In addition, they address local and remote access to applications and data stored on the servers. Colocation providers protect servers from natural disasters, power outages, theft, vandalism and even third-party hackers. Since the IT world is ever-changing, colocation providers must stay up to date on the latest security measures to keep data safe at all times.
A colocation provider will specify in its contract that it will provide protection against power disruptions and outages. Therefore, colocation providers must find ways to keep that promise through the use of redundant power systems. Power redundancy means that when one supply goes down, another is there to provide power without a break in service. This is done through backup generators and UPS units. These alternative power systems provide a higher probability of uptime and less probability of power outages. Redundant systems have now become somewhat of an industry standard.
Temperature and Cooling Controls
In the past, colocation providers would use commercial air-conditioners to keep the center at the optimum temperature. Today’s rack systems, densities and processors have changed that standard. Traditional air-conditioner unites are no longer the industry acceptable standard. This is due to the amount of heat that is generated from today’s hardware systems. Instead, a more-sophisticated cooling system is required to keep cool airflow throughout the racks.
Today’s colocation provider will typically utilize liquid-driven cooling systems. Since these are more efficient than fan cooling systems, they are able to transfer heat away from the processors. This protects the hardware and data stored on the processors. These systems are also energy efficient, which means lower utility costs for the customers.
In addition to the above, colocation providers also focus on fire prevention, detection and suppression services. In the rare case the cooling system does not prevent equipment overheating, the fire system will deploy.
Physical Security Access
A colocation provider not only secures the interior of the facility but the exterior, as well. Site security is highly important, especially for facilities housing government or other critical data. Colocation providers screen their employees regularly and control access from employees and visitors into the storage rooms. Most colocation providers have moved away from key cards and are now using biometric-access systems. These systems require a unique characteristic identifier to identify an individual. This usually means fingerprint confirmation before allowing access to high-security areas. Cages and storage racks rented by the customers are also starting to utilize these access-control systems to prevent unauthorized access.
It is the responsibility of the colocation provider to protect a customer’s hardware and software from network intrusion. In order to do this, it uses a combination of highly sophisticated firewalls, intrusion detectors and protective measures. Colocation providers install alert systems and have countermeasure protocols in place. If a network access occurs, they can handle it properly and without disruption to the customer’s service.