I've been spending a little time with some of the big hosting companies lately, and of course, they have been keen to ensure that I am aware of all the technological capabilities that they can provide to their customers.
However, I have to say that it is not the technology that has been impressing me the most. Sure, seeing well-laid out servers with neat wiring and with all that storage lined up is good, but I can see pretty much the same when I look at any reasonably large data centre in a private organisation.
No, what has really been impressing me is the physical security side of what is on offer. I have tended to find that, although many companies have reasonable technical security in place, it is when we look at the physical security that everything goes to pot.
OK, we know that many organisations will also have such coverage. But, infra-red beams that set off silent alarms when broken alerting security to possible intruders?
Flower beds that act as crash barriers to stop vehicles from trying to ram-raid through into the building? Pretty heavy stuff, but probably necessary in today's climate.
Once inside, it gets better. As well as standard air-lock style entry systems allowing only one person through at a time, biometrics are in use and not just fingerprints.
As we all know from watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies you can always cut off someone's finger to get in. No. Here, the palm print must also have a pulse.
How about tailgating? In general, we are all very nice people and hold the doors open for people following behind us. Not in these buildings. People must use their swipe cards to get through the most basic of doors where security is not such a big issue (biometrics are used for the more secure areas).
The door needs to shut before the next person can come through, not just as a general security issue, but to track the movement of people within the building. Employees cannot get out through a door into a enclosed room unless they came in through it first.
If an employee is trying to get in at a time when they should not be on site, the swipe will not work unless specific allowance has been made.
Ceiling spaces are also covered by infra-red beams to stop people from crawling from one area to another.
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