Data Center Journal

Volume 30 | February 2014

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10 | THE DATA CENTER JOURNAL Customizable... For 25 years, our fl exible and scalable busway systems for data centers have been proven to deliver a lower cost of ownership, while allowing easier installation with faster expansions and additions. Yet STARLINE Track Busway is designed to be completely customizable to meet the specifi c needs of our customers. To learn more about the simple and versatile STARLINE Track Busway, visit or call us at +1 724-597-7800. Y E A R S B U S W A Y I first set foot in a data center in 1990. Even then there were some spinning tapes of the sort you see in 1970s sci-fi movies. is data center processed records of national law-enforcement agencies and hosted a large staff. Most of the employees were there to change over the magnetic tapes, and my assignment was to work out new ways of managing backup media storage. at involved trucks moving big media between offsite storage areas. e highest physical threat was fire, as well as the nearness of commercial flights. Even so, I can't remember any detailed risk assess- ments being made. But there was literally no threat from outside hackers. Indeed, the lack of external links meant the biggest risk was from insiders. Countermeasures included a trusted member of staff care- fully siing through line printer paper, looking for anomalies. is picture is not far from my favorite book for security retrospectives, Computer Security, written in 1972 by British expert Peter Hamilton. Forty years ago, electronic data was safely bound in data processing centers (a "computer complex," as he calls them) that were owned and managed by corporations and by governments. ey were run by staff with specialized training and competencies in the processing protocols of that time. In that cocooned environment, the need for data integrity was unforeseen. When read today, parts of Computer Security are enough to make one laugh out loud at their narrow worldview. Hamilton's vision of improved security was to build up the "computer man" as a professional "elite" who would ultimately be less inclined to subvert the system. Even so, Hamilton's views on risk management still speak to us now, as should his caution against the over- zealous application of security controls. If they could be transported to a modern data center, Hamilton's "computer men" would be awed by the new range of equipment and its vastly increased process- ing power. But what would surely scramble their minds aer that excitement had passed would be the even bigger change in how data is managed. What, for instance, might they make of nearly everyone having huge amounts of data stored in these facili- ties, and of the legal rights of individuals over its handling? What would they say about the negation of national boundaries as a defense (Hamilton would surely be shocked by the undermining of British iso- lationism as a security measure)? And what might they make of the uncoupling of data from big corporations and governments, and of management by third parties? Fast forward about 15 years for my next encounter with data centers. By this John g. laskey Data Centers Security and facIlIty corner

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