Increase the security of your data center with PRTG

 Originally published on March 22, 2021 by Michael Becker
Last updated on August 31, 2021 • 9 minute read

If you ask an IT administrator or an IT manager which room is the most important in the company, the answer is usually clear - the server room or the data center. This is the central IT node, which must be protected by security measures and monitored like no other room. This article is about physical security of data centers, how you can improve it with PRTG and how to simultaneously reduce the consumption of resources.

Even in the age of the cloud, most companies still need their own IT infrastructure and therefore still have hardware such as servers, switches and routers on the company premises. This requires special protection. Not only can your company be paralyzed by attacks from hackers and environmental influences such as unsuitable temperature and humidity in the server room, but also by unauthorized access.

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In many cases, the server room has grown into a data center along with the company, and administrators or IT decision-makers have had to come to terms with the existing room conditions. Building a new room is the exception rather than the rule due to high costs and effort. Many companies have therefore decided to upgrade and secure the existing spatial infrastructure with specific hardware and sensors.

PRTG allows you to monitor not only your entire IT environment, but also the security of your data center. Let's first look at the physical security measures that prevent unauthorized access and the monitoring of the room.

Restricting access to the data center

Access to the data center is rarely controlled by a key that only certain people have. Many companies decide to secure access by expanding their existing access control system. For example, a card reader is installed at the door and integrated into the existing system. Authorizations then only need to be assigned at a central point, which significantly simplifies administration. An alternative is to install a single device that only controls access for this one room. This can also be done by entering a PIN or by biometric confirmation.

info-blue Those who want to increase security can network the electronic locking systems with a central monitoring unit. That way, the electronic door locks not only report any attempt at unauthorized opening, but they also issue a warning if the power supply for the locking mechanism is compromised. Access must always be guaranteed even in the event of a power failure!

PRTG supports the hardware of many well-known manufacturers that distribute such systems and can thus be integrated into your monitoring. These include, among others:

Monitoring the data center

However, restricting access to a certain group of people is not enough. The room itself must also be monitored. This is where cameras, motion sensors or even heat sensors come into play. For example, one or more additional cameras can be installed and integrated into the existing CCTV solution. The room can then be continuously monitored as needed. Alternatively, video recording can be started only when a door contact or motion sensor is triggered.

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With PRTG you can monitor these sensors as well as your CCTV system and be notified according to your needs. The most common methods of alerting, such as email, SMS and push notifications are available and help you to keep an eye on and increase the data center security.

Environmental monitoring of the data center

In addition to the physical security monitoring of the data center, the environmental parameters should also be monitored. Typical measures include monitoring temperature, humidity, water ingress, and the power supply, including UPSs and the total power consumption of the hardware.

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For many companies, electricity consumption is a particular focus of attention, as this is not only an area where costs can be saved, but also where a contribution can be made to environmental protection (carbon emissions). In keeping with our company's mission statement, we contribute to reducing the consumption of resources by humankind with PRTG.

With the sensors included in PRTG to monitor the environment of your data center, you will not only get an overview, but also be constantly informed about the energy consumption and can optimize it if necessary. For example, virtual servers or desktops that are no longer needed can be shut down automatically at the end of the day, thereby saving electricity costs. But monitoring the temperature can also contribute to this - if the temperature is set too cold, the air conditioning system consumes more energy.

Among other features, PRTG supports temperature, humidity and water level sensors (which can be used both indoors and outdoors), as well as the monitoring of UPS's or PDU's from various vendors. This way you get an overview of the current values and can be warned automatically if the limit values are exceeded or not reached. An overview of all sensors can be found here:

👉 List of available sensor types

What challenges did you face to ensure the security of your data center? What are your thoughts? Feel free and leave us a comment below!