THE SAFEST DATA CENTRE ON THE EARTH IS UNDERGROUND
In our last blog we talked about integrated security systems for data centres.
Today we’re looking at two extremes – low-tech attacks and ultra high-tech security – to show the range of security risks and approaches when it comes to securing these data facilities.
Unlike hackers who crack cyber codes, people looking to compromise the physical security of data centres need not be overly sophisticated.
As ZDNet’s David Chernicoff wrote about in a blog, some old world technology – a sledgehammer – was recently used in stealing millions of dollars of the latest new technology – racks of routers.
In this case, Vodafone, one of the largest cellular carriers in the world, lost service to millions of customers when a group of thieves, armed with sledgehammers and a van, forced their way into an isolated datacenter and stole the valuable routers. As Chernicoff writes, Vodafone had to pull equipment from their testing labs in order to get their customers back online, though it took more than a day to get all their customers up and running.
That kind of physical security risk is not found at a certain Swedish location, however.
According to Forbes Magazine, the most secure data centre in the world is operated by Swedish broadband carrier Bahnhof.
Their centre, which hosts some of the Wikileakers servers among other things, is found in an underground Cold War-era nuclear bunker in downtown Stockholm. Their server farm, carved out of a 100-foot-tall granite hill, has a single entrance, protected by 20-inch-thick steel doors.
You can get a quick tour of this amazing Bahnof facility by watching this 3-minute YouTube video.
Bahnhof Chairman Jon Karlung says the facility sends a message to clients: your data are safe from all intrusions, physical or legal. “The resemblance to a James Bond setting is purely intentional,” Karlung told Forbes.
A quick snapshot of the Bahnhof centre tells the tale of a highly secure location indeed:
1. A glass conference room is embedded in the cave’s rock ceiling with eight 13-foot-long steel bolts.
2. The room now holding Bahnhof’s NOC was built to command Stockholm’s civil defense during a nuclear winter.
3. The data center offers only one way in or out, though a planned “Batcave”-like chute from the surface was nixed due to budget concerns.
4. The facility’s two backup generators were originally designed for German submarines, with the overall facility able to withstand a nuclear blast.
While burying your data centre far below ground is likely well beyond your security budget, there are some earth-bound steps you can take to protect your information. And they are well worth taking, just in case someone with a van and a sledgehammer gets any ideas.
Our next blog will highlight six best practices for data centre security.