Data Center Journal

VOLUME 44 | JUNE 2016

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18 | THE DATA CENTER JOURNAL the data center plans on approaching an upgrade, electronic access solutions can range from a simple self-contained digital keypad to a more advanced soware-based networked access-control system. ey include the following: • Self-contained solutions that are gener- ally battery-operated and offer simple, drop-in installation and programming to provide integrated access control and electronic locking in a single self- contained device. ese devices provide a simplified solution to eliminate key- management issues. • Standalone solutions that offer basic plug-and-play access control without the need for soware or network adminis- tration, but they do not provide remote networked monitoring and control. • Integrated solutions that can be combined with building access-control and monitoring systems to incorporate cabinet-level access control into existing security systems. • Independent networked solutions that can monitor and manage rack access across networks from a host computer for remote system configuration, access control and monitoring of multiple access points. ese systems can oper- ate independently of existing building security systems. And while there is a broad range of server-cabinet designs by many different manufacturers, suppliers of electronic ac- cess solutions have refined their offerings to make mechanical-to-electronic lock retrofitting simple and cost effective. From a systems-management perspective, the controller platforms for some rack-level electronic access systems can easily integrate into the building and floor-level access-control components of most DCIM systems. Many of the soware hooks are already in place, and managers can essentially add the intelligent electron- ic locks to the existing set of access-control devices they are already managing. From a physical connectiv- ity perspective, some electronic access solutions are now being engineered to support Power over Ethernet (PoE) and bus architectures. One network cable can provide the data connectivity and power for the electronic lock. ese architectures can be daisy-chained, rather than running separate cables from each door to the rack access controller, to further simplify upgrades to electronic access solutions. eas enaBles "VIrtual cages" Data center operators, particularly those running colocation operations with dozens or even hundreds of customers, seek to maximize return on their expensive real estate. But certain customers needing a higher level of security, such as govern- ment agencies, health-care operations and financial institutions, require standalone physical cages separating their servers from others in the data center. Oen, this requirement is met by literally erecting chain-link fencing and securing a gate with a padlock—which eats up valuable floor space and does not provide individual rack-level trackable access control. Electronic access solutions can create "virtual cages" to protect confi- dential data. A customer's server technol- ogy can be located in selected racks; using credential management, physical access to those cabinets can be granted when the permissions are given to the contractor or data center employee for a given task or assignment. is approach offers a much more cost-effective solution than installing fenc- es, and it enables the data center operator to use soware to change access and reuse the server cabinets if the customer leaves or shis to another location. rack-leVel eas: the last lInk In data center securIty e entire IT and data center in- dustry must continue to apply every tool available to secure personal and corporate data and applications from identity the, malware, hijacking and other attacks. Using electronic access solutions to secure the server racks is the final component in creating a fully secure data center. Electronic access provides a truly traceable access-control solution that can be inte- grated into existing data center security systems, providing one unified physical security system across the facility. n about the author: As General Manager of Southco's Electronic Access Solutions, Steve Spatig oversees Southco's state-of-the-art electronic-latching product line. Steve has over 16 years of experience with Southco working in various design-engineering and product-management capacities. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in marketing management from Virginia Tech. Figure 2: Southco's H3-EM Electronic Locking Swinghandle series supports multiple readers, providing a higher level of security and facilitating the transition to new security technologies for managing access to keyless entry points at the equipment level.

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