We live in an information age where the operations of data centres are vital to the functionality and continuity of our global economy. According to The Data Economy Report, by 2025, in the UK alone data centres will be responsible for storing data worth circa £103 billion pounds annually. Globally the IDC report, ‘Data Age 2025’ estimates that the volume of data generated will have grown by 378% by 2025.
The theft of information assets has serious consequences; in the UK according to IBM research the average cost of a data breach to a business has grown to nearly £2.7 million. As well as causing economic loss a data breach can also cause significant reputational damage due to loss of confidence from customers.
With such economic value at stake for businesses, the physical security of data centres must not be an afterthought but rather an integral part of how these facilities are designed, developed and built.
How has Data Centre construction evolved over the last five years and where does security fit within this?
The scale of data centre construction has grown significantly in line with global internet adoption. In 2020, 60% of the world’s population are classed as active internet users. This rapid expansion and reliance on the internet for work and for our personal lives has led the internet to be likened to a utility, such as energy and water.
The impact on global construction programmes for data centre providers has seen the drive for rapid build programmes and continuity across regions and providers. Alongside this rapid expansion of facilities, cyber security and security in general has become more prevalent as the importance and overreliance on these types of facility continues.
Very similar to the continuity of data centre design and equipment specification, physical security is pre-meditated and implemented in a layered approach. The type and specification of physical security equipment depends on the tier of data centre being protected.
Data centre tier standards running from Tier 1 or Tier 5 create a sense of consistency of what can be expected from a data centre’s capabilities and the level of service based on which tier requirements it meets. Tier 5 is a relatively new standard and has the highest expectation in terms of total redundancy of equipment and an expectation to achieve less than half-an-hour of downtime per year (99.9995% uptime). Tier 5 may require a completely integrated security scheme, installing impact tested and certified equipment around the entire perimeter and at all pedestrian and vehicular access points.
What is the Future of Data Centre Facilities?
Online gaming is one of the fastest growing industries globally, exploding in popularity over the last 5 years. With an estimated 9.2% CARG between 2020-2025, the emergence of cloud gaming is driving the market. The amount of data that this is driving through data centres is phenomenal, with demands for rapid data processing powers and no room for ‘gaming lag’ (delay between the action of a gamer and the reaction of the game server).
The same demands will exist for autonomous vehicles once established, the birth of smart cities and smart manufacturing. These new and growing demands will change the way in which data centre facilities are set-up and operate.
To reduce latency, new facilities are emerging called ‘Edge Data Centres’. These move away from the historically large facilities located in remote areas and instead are smaller facilities located close to the populations they serve. By processing data and services as close to the end user as possible, ‘Edge’ computing allows organisations to reduce latency and improve the customer experience.
This different approach will see changes in how facilities are secured and what their security look like.
It's tempting to believe that cyber crime is 'digital only', but criminals are increasingly targeting off-line opportunities, meaning physical security considerations are more important than ever.Read more
As Head of Strategic Business Development for Hill & Smith Holdings’ Roads & Security division Tabu’s working knowledge of the data centre market as well as the security products provided by the HS Security Group of companies is an invaluable asset to the HS Security team.
Tabu has a number of years’ experience in the data centre sector both within a Tier 1 contractor and specialist subcontractor environment.Get in touch
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