Rows of data center cabinets


Achieving Physical Security in Your Data Center

A Layered Access Control Strategy is Key to Maximizing Security

Security in a data center goes beyond IT protection from attacks and hackers. It is also critical to protect the safety of the people and property in and around the data center. Unauthorized access, human errors, theft, and protocol failures can lead to vulnerabilities within a center. 

When looking at a data center, security is best achieved using a layered approach throughout the building across six critical areas:

  • Site perimeter
  • Building perimeter
  • Main entrance
  • Halls
  • Data room
  • Data cabinet

Site Perimeter

Having a security fence and gate with limited access points are the first line of defense. All people and vehicles should be funneled through a single manned gate. A double gate system like a personal interlock controller allows one vehicle entrance at a time, eliminating tailgate risk. For side gates or slides, RCI YG80 lock by dormakaba is ideal and allows monitoring through the access control system.

Building Perimeter

The next layer in access control design is the building perimeter. A data center should have limited exterior doors leading inside. There should be communication routing traffic to a secured and monitored entrance. All exterior doors, loading docks, and mechanical and power areas should be fully secured and monitored with cameras and access control with door prop and latch alarms.

Main Entrance

It is important to have personal interlock (mantrap) door systems in place for the main entrance. This will prevent tailgating of staff and direct traffic flow in one direction. When visitors are present, this system will allow the reception area to validate them before opening the inner entrance door. dormakaba’s electronically monitored security personal interlocks meet the highest security demands and provide optimal protection for sensitive building areas.


In addition to video monitoring all passageways, all doors throughout the building need to have access control. In some cases, such as computer or control rooms, personal interlocks are recommended. Unauthorized access to areas keeps human error down. Restrooms, breakrooms, and closets must also be part of this designed access control solution. All doors need to have high-security hardware like the BEST 45H electronic mortise lock or BEST Precision exit devices controlled by card readers or biometrics in high-security areas.

Data Room (Cage Areas)

The data room should be sectioned off before entering the rack area. These can be zoned to provide additional security. In addition, this area should have video and access control installed. Access should be limited and monitored using in and out readers. RCI products by dormakaba can fit all of these needs from quality hardware to electric strikes and readers.

Data Cabinet

Each data cabinet should have access control designed into the front and back cabinet doors and should monitor the cabinets for door propping and latching. The RCI 3525 electromechanical rack handle lock is an excellent product solution. The RCI 3525 by dormakaba can be controlled with a reader built into the handle or from a reader on the front alley of a bank of cabinets. Through the access control system, the RCI 3525 can signal what cabinet the contractor or employee can access.

A layered approach is critical to maximize your data center’s security. Security is everyone’s responsibility. Designing access control at every layer, being aware, and following the protocols are key. Each component and access point builds on the other and cannot be left out of the design.

View our full portfolio of dormakaba products.


This article was brought to you in partnership with dormakaba.
With over 160 years of experience and millions of installations worldwide, dormakaba is a leading provider of access and entrance systems. As a distribution partner, Wesco delivers a full array of dormakaba security and access control solutions to customers around the globe.


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