Remote Closets: Keeping an Eye on Unexpected Threats

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From data centers to server rooms, physical security remains a main priority for IT managers and directors as everyone knows these systems need to stay up and running at all times through all types of issues.

But BEWARE: Concentrating on in these areas alone can lull IT managers into a false sense of security; after all, they have never gone down before, what has changed that would put them at risk now? Today’s IT reality has shifted the balance away from centralized data centers toward options that place more computing power in the field.

“With 97 percent of all IT space now located in either network closets or server rooms, it is not just about (protecting) the data center anymore,” said Mike Stacey, software systems engineer at Schneider Electric’s APC unit. Security strategies must include monitoring all those spaces and closing off any threats that exist.

With more computing power and data now residing in areas like remote closets spread throughout the organization, it means focusing on physical threats and solving issues at these locations is more important than ever to help ward off unplanned downtime.

“We look at distributed IT environments monitored at the rack and the room level, network closets and server rooms, UPS battery rooms, all the places not usually thought of outside the data center,” Stacey said. “Wherever there is critical IT equipment that has to be managed, monitored and maintained.”

The goal is to monitor physical threats, Stacey said, while also being able to look at temperature and humidity, ensuring the user is making ample use of cooling capabilities at these remote facilities.

“Physical threats are those within the environment where your IT equipment is stored,” Stacey said. “It can be an environmental threat, surveillance, human intervention, people in the data center, or in the remote closets, not authorized to be there; access control monitoring on who goes in and out of the room.”

That is why a comprehensive plan to monitor those systems through technology and understanding best practices remains critical.

As quite a few of these facilities remain unattended, it is just not very efficient to send people out to remote sites. That is where a network-accessible appliance comes into play. Through the use of sensor technology, it is possible to remotely monitor temperature, humidity and receive alerts when set points end up violated. In addition, a monitoring and automation software system, along with video technology, allows remote administrators to be the eye in the sky to allow for decision making in real time.

Click here to view a white paper on remote monitoring.

By using good common sense and designing in four key components like employing a monitoring and automation software system, video technology, intelligent rack outlets, and sensor technology, it can cut down on incidents in these locations. These monitoring systems are able to quickly get vital information in administrators’ hands before it results in costly downtime.

The following are some best practices to ensure remote systems stay up and running:

  • Keep servers, switches & storage equipment safe and secure
  • Clear the rack area of cluttered network cables
  • Improve airflow and reduce cooling costs
  • Secure equipment from unauthorized access
  • View and monitor the power network and all attached equipment from a remote center
  • Aggregate multiple UPS/power instances
  • Monitor your temperature/humidity
  • Receive instant alerts during an event to allow for remote diagnosis

To learn more about how network-accessible appliances can detect and alarm on human and environmental activity click here.