Biometric Technology: A Revolution in Data Center Security
By: Tom Banta on January 18, 2019
Once the stuff of science fiction and spy films, biometric security technology has become a common feature of state-of-the-art data centers. This security process relies on scanning and verifying the unique biological characteristics of individuals to enter secure areas of a data center or access key IT assets like servers. While the biometric security technology is often used to manage access to facilities, it can also be incorporated into server cabinets as part of physical security measures.
What is Biometric Technology?
There are several forms of biometric authentication. In all cases, they accurately cross-reference a presented sample with a database record to determine whether the person seeking access is who they claim to be and they have specific access that is being requested. Some forms of biometric security technology include:
Retina Scanning: These scans compare the blood vessel patterns of the inner eye.
Fingerprint Scanning: A simple scan that compares raised skin patterns.
Facial Recognition: By measuring unique nodal points on the human face, scanners can recognize an authorized individual.
Voice Recognition: These systems can measure both the sound wave produced by speech and the characteristics of the mouth and throat when speaking.
Data centers can utilize biometric security technology in a variety of ways to provide customers with unparalleled control over who has access to their most valuable assets. They may implement only one form of biometric authentication or deploy different scanning methods at different security levels to provide more robust and diversified security measures.
5 Ways Biometric Technology in Data Center Security is Revolutionary
Improved Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is one of the key principles behind any effective security strategy. In any situation where verification of identity is necessary, there are typically only three possible ways to authenticate that someone is who they say they are:
Something they have (a physical object, like an access card)
Something they are (unique biometric features like fingerprints or retinal patterns)
Two-factor authentication strengthens data center security procedures by requiring that people present two of the three verification methods before gaining access to secure areas or assets. By incorporating biometrics into every two-factor authentication process, data centers can provide better security without increasing their customers’ access burdens.
Difficult to Duplicate
One of the key advantages of biometrics is that they’re much more difficult to duplicate. Passwords are often easy to guess or discover with brute force hacking efforts, while access cards and traditional keys can be duplicated without much difficulty. While biometric scanners are not foolproof, it’s much more difficult to forge the distinctive physical markers they’re looking for. In fact, many biometric security technology systems are sophisticated enough to account for duplication efforts. Fingerprint scanners can measure heat and electrical activity to ensure that they’re not scanning a wax impression of a fingerprint and voice recognition systems can prompt people to recite a random series of words to prevent a recording from being used.
Easy to Manage
Since biometric authentication is based on the distinctive physical characteristics of an individual, it’s far easier to manage than the traditional system of cataloging and distributing access badges or keys. While someone could easily lose a key, they’re never going to misplace their fingerprint or forget their eye at home. Since the biometric data of authorized users is maintained in a centralized database, it’s very easy to adjust who has access to different areas of the data center. If customers want to change who has access, there’s no need to collect access cards or similar materials. The person can simply be removed from the authorized list. For colocation customers, then, biometric security technology makes managing access to IT assets much less of a headache.
Stricter Access Protocols
Since biometric data is difficult to forge and can’t simply be transferred from one person to another, it allows data centers to narrowly define who has access to a customer’s assets at any given time. If, for example, biometric fingerprint scanners are incorporated into server cabinets, only people authorized to access those servers has the ability to do so. They cannot simply hand a key over to unauthorized personnel. Similarly, no one who happens to come across their key will be able to gain access. As a data center security measure, biometric authentication helps customers maintain strict control over their valuable data and IT equipment.
While biometric security technology has an initial implementation cost, once the systems are in place, they are quite cost-effective in the long term. Rather than having to constantly issue, replace, and destroy old forms of access like keys or badges, biometric data can be stored with minimal effort and updated frequently without incurring additional costs.
Biometric security technology has revolutionized the way data centers think about security. By incorporating biometric authentication into their existing model of multi-layered security, data centers can provide their customers with peace of mind and unparalleled control over who can access their most valuable IT infrastructure.
About Tom Banta
Tom is the Senior Vice President of Product Management & Development at vXchnge. Tom is responsible for the company’s product strategy and development.