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How data centre leaders can ensure robust physical security during COVID-19

How data centre leaders can ensure robust physical security during COVID-19

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The last year has been turbulent in more ways than one, affecting the data centre industry on a whole new level. Security strategies have been reconsidered to ensure robust physical protection of facilities while cyberattackers have demonstrated a more complex approach. Hassan Elbanna, Business Development Manager Middle East, Turkey & Africa (META) at Genetec, tells us more.

Recent months have transformed industries from a care-free world, to one with physical distancing, as well as other Coronavirus-inspired restrictions. Consequentially, Genetec proposes physical security systems that can be implemented across different sectors, including the data centre sector, in order to provide safer and more comfortable spaces, along with suggesting proposed solutions to their current vulnerabilities.

Following a regional survey conducted by Genetec, findings show that almost 50% of the respondents in the Middle East have not implemented additional security measures during the pandemic and the majority are not confident of the effectiveness of their current physical security solutions. However, it is important for organisations to enhance their security solutions in order to create an environment that is not only hygienic and safe, but also enjoyable despite the need for protective equipment (masks, gloves, sanitising gels, etc.) and mandated physical distancing measures.

What needs to be done to enhance current security solutions and how technology can help

Using their existing security technology, organisations can quickly put in place solutions designed to support social distancing, manage occupancy limits and ensure hygiene protocols are put in place. An open platform security system that is unified enables the integration of devices and applications needed for safe operating organisations or places.

The insider threat

The recent increase in cyberattacks, especially during COVID-19, means that physical security equipment has now become a potential entry point to networks and critical infrastructure. It may be strange that a physical security solution designed to protect people and property can be the subject of a cyberattack, but since physical security systems are increasingly connected to networks and IT infrastructure, they can be vulnerable to breaches.

No access control provider will be able to perfect a product that has no vulnerabilities, but they should have solid protections in place as well as processes that quickly and completely addresses any vulnerability. When choosing a physical security system, it is crucial not to overlook the cybersecurity needs.

“By choosing a provider that offers protection against cyberthreats with end-to-end encrypted communications for software and hardware, secure claims-based authentication, as well as digital certificates, facilities managers can safeguard their IP. Regular tests focused on trying to catch vulnerabilities on their own is also essential as this can eliminate a breach before it has a chance to take place,” said Hassan Elbanna, Business Development Manager Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) at Genetec.

Having unified systems also heightens the security of an organisation and increases readiness to respond to incidents and threats, while leveraging any existing network and security equipment investments. With advanced security measures and support for an ever-growing number of third-party access control devices, unified systems give confidence to protect people and assets.

Solutions during COVID-19

A main priority for organisations today is to identify occupancy guidelines and assemble their operations with an aim to limit the risk of the COVID-19 transmission. To enforce these mandates, they need to know how many people are on their grounds at any given moment – then continuously monitor the data and take action when thresholds are exceeded.

New capabilities, such as the Genetec Occupancy Management Package, enables places to operate within established guidelines for occupancy density, while leveraging existing systems to adapt their strategy and respond to new risks.

Additionally, the abovementioned solution can also count the number of people in a store while simultaneously being able to visualise the data and send alerts to employees when occupancy limits are being reached.

Other than that, the video management systems can also be set up with a ‘one in, one out’ policy to control access. Through the system, people wanting to enter a place are notified when they are allowed to enter a store via a ‘traffic light’ device, for example. With this technology, an organisation prevents overcrowding without having to place an employee at the entrance and risk possible altercations.

Systems that can help organisations manage their physical identity and access rights with ease, remotely and on a detailed level are highly recommended.

Genetec ClearIDTM, for example, is a proven system that can help organisations easily manage their physical identity and access rights, allowing schools to adjust student and faculty access rights quickly, remotely and on a detailed level.

During these unprecedented times, it is important for organisations to consider the different options they have with physical security in order to keep their environment hygienic and to ensure the safety of people. It is also relevant for organisations to be more aware of the fact that physical security systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks for them to follow through with certain procedures or steps that they could take, such as having unified systems and choosing a provider that offers protection against cyberthreats.

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