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Three Reasons Perimeter Protection Needs to be Included in Your Data Center Security Strategy

Restricted Secured Area (RSA) surveillance needs to extend beyond your fence line

5 Min Read
Three Reasons Perimeter Protection Needs to be Included in Your Data Center Security Strategy

When most people think about perimeter security, they think about what happens at the fence line. Yet Restricted Secured Area (RSA) Surveillance isn’t just useful at the edges of your property.

Forward-thinking security teams go a step beyond, extending the first layer of surveillance beyond the fence line to detect and evaluate potential threats before they ever reach the perimeter. Your “perimeter” includes any area that needs protection or is restricted from certain access holders — sometimes even including the airspace above a restricted zone.

1. Manage areas, targets, and threats

If you have expensive assets, you need to protect them. But security also can’t get in the way of running your business. Since you can’t restrict all activity in and around sensitive areas without affecting operations, your security solution needs to be designed to meet your operational requirements first and foremost.

Begin with a threat assessment. Think about the different ways you can protect sensitive zones, create workflows to manage data and automate threat detection — and guide staff to respond more efficiently and effectively.  

When it comes to keeping data centers secure, the best strategy is a layered approach. It’s great if an alarm is triggered if someone should climb the fence, but there should be more layers of security that slow or stop unauthorized people from reaching the door of the building, and/or restricted zones or floors inside.

Give more information to operators to shorten their response time, qualification, and response to a detected target

Your first layer of security begins not at the fence line, but just beyond. By monitoring activity on the outside of your perimeter, operators can qualify moving targets and tag them to ensure an appropriate response. If it’s a squirrel, the system can be set to ignore the target. If it is a person approaching the fence line, the target can be tagged as a potential threat, raising the alert level.

Likewise, if perimeter security identifies people repeatedly gathering or moving through restricted areas near data centers, the RSA system can trigger the security operator to do a threat qualification and vulnerability assessment, pulling in relevant data from access control, lidar, or other systems as necessary, to get a better understanding of what is happening and why. With well-defined standard operating procedures, a unified security software solution can also suggest different solutions to help operators respond quickly and appropriately.

Arm and disarm areas based on custom schedules

When your RSA solution is unified with access control and HR databases, restricted zones can be armed or disarmed based on roles and schedules that make sense for your business.

For example, if a service technician is authorized to work on server rack #5, the employee can gain access only to that rack. If required, the rest of the racks can remain protected. In that case, if the technician approaches or touches rack #4 or #6, the system can be designed to alert operators of a situation that may require closer monitoring. 

2. Reduce nuisance alarms

The biggest single problem with most intrusion detection systems is that they don’t discriminate between a potential threat and a real problem. When there are dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of intrusion alerts in a day, responding takes time away from other important tasks. Staff may also become numb to the alerts over time, potentially slowing their response to an actual threat.

Your security system needs to work when and how you want it to, without unnecessary hassles. If you have an outdoor storage area you want to protect, you probably do want to be alerted if someone approaches that zone. Yet, when it’s time for your employees or contractors to access the storage area, you don’t want to be bothered by nuisance alarms — and you shouldn’t be!

Customize which targets warrant an operator response

You don’t need your security teams being called out to investigate intrusions by curious squirrels, stray dogs, or employees or contractors going about their work. Within a unified solution, you can customize which targets warrant an operator response, and which can be ignored.

Optimize your system to identify friendly activity from true threats

A patented algorithm in RSA called Fusion can help your operators understand if movement detected by the system is something you need to pay attention to, or if it’s just noise, and automate workflows to trigger a response that is appropriate to the level of threat.

Fusion, along with automated workflows to triage potential threats, can reduce nuisance alarms by up to 80 percent. That ensures suspicious people moving near your perimeter will be carefully monitored — and the local squirrels can gather nuts in peace.

If suspicious activity or potential threats are revealed, a vulnerability assessment is a next step, so you can identify and fix weak points. Within Genetec Security Center, tools like heat maps can help your team identify potential vulnerabilities. If a drone flies over your fence every evening at 8 p.m., for example, your operator needs to know so they can determine whether the drone is flown by someone with potentially hostile intentions or just a kid with a new toy.

3. Leverage your existing technology to do more

Restricted area surveillance is an important feature but it’s only one component. Within a unified dashboard, RSA plays a pivotal role in helping operators interpret data from multiple connected systems, such as radar, lidar, access control, and video analytics.

To get the most out of your investment in security hardware, choose a software solution that:

  • Brings standalone intrusion detection systems together under one visualization pane

  • Creates one or many zone overlays from your various intrusion detection technologies such as radar, lidar, laser, video analytics, and perimeter intrusion detection systems

  • Merges data coming from different sensors of different technologies to track a target in motion

Moving from intrusion detection to surveillance is a change in mindset, but there’s no doubt that it’s better to know something is going wrong before disaster strikes.

How secure is your data center?

Try the Genetec RSA Maturity assessment tool to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your data center security.

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