How mantraps protect data centers from tailgating

  • 3 March 2014
  • 3 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +54
When it comes to building security, data centers are more like Fort Knox than one might expect, especially if the facility incorporates mantraps.

A huge heat exchanger spewing steam into the cold February morning air was the only thing distinguishing the building I was going to from other nearby buildings. This building was a newly renovated data center that a friend managed, and I was there to check out his toys.

As I walked up to the entrance, I noticed all the empty concrete planters spaced uniformly around the main door. Since this was Minnesota, they were just wide enough for two people or a snowblower to fit through. I remember my friend mentioning the architect called them, "Intrusion protection without sacrificing aesthetics."

While waiting at the front desk, I recalled my friend mentioning the security upgrades that were required due to the facility changing from a multidiscipline building to a mission-critical building. The differences being:

  •     Multidiscipline buildings are designed to house a data center plus office space. These facilities can only obtain basic-security ratings due to people working in the building who have jobs that are not related to the upkeep of the data center.
  •     Mission-critical buildings are single-purpose facilities. By limiting access only to those running the data center, and the increased physical security, these buildings can obtain higher security ratings.
My friend finally showed up and asked if I noticed anything different about the atrium. I did notice the floor to ceiling turnstile. Here is a list of what I missed:

  •     All exterior glass is now bulletproof.
  •     All window and door hardware is inside.
  •     Fire doors are exit only.
  •     Security cameras cover 100 percent of the building grounds.
The next step was signing in at the security desk. The guard asked me for two forms of ID, which I was told I would get them back when I left. My driver's license and credit card worked. I had to turn over my phone and any other electronics I had with me, so there went my idea of taking pictures. I was then issued a guest pass card (RFID) specific to me. I used the pass card to get through the turnstile. And I was in, or so I thought.
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3 replies

Userlevel 7
So that's what you call a mantrap now. They used be called strip clubs! 😃
Userlevel 7
Badge +56
We don't have mantraps on all our doors, but we do have signs warning against letting anyone in who doesn't badge in.  And we have to badge out when we leave too.
Userlevel 5
Lol untill recently we didn't have a functional lock on our server room, fortunately draging 2 C level guys over there and breaking into my own server room in under 5 sec convinced them to let me atleast buy a better lock...