Data Centres : A weak link in counter terrorism?


Many organisations have taken constructive action against terrorist attacks, through security screening, surveillance analytics, target hardening for buildings, and a host of other measures. However, a weak link remains among many. Data centres.

For government and private organisations, data centres are absolutely mission critical. The facility comprises mainframes, application systems, communication networks and data archiving systems. Data centres vary from Tier 1 – occupying one room with only a few servers, to enterpriselevel, Tier 4 – mission-critical facilities taking up entire buildings with thousands of servers.

Utmost Mission Criticality – Is there a blind side? Data centre uptime availability may need to be as high as 99.995% of the time. This translates to a miniscule 26.28 minutes per year of down time! Such facilities have multiple fault tolerant redundancies as backups for continued operations. Yet, a single bomb blast could render all these redundancies irrelevant! If there is no blast protection.

An entire system can come become inoperable when a critical hardware or software component is damaged or malfunctions. Even built-in redundancies to overcome sources of failure should have blast mitigation measures. A datacentre without blast protection may experience multiple points of failure, through power, Heating Ventilation and Air Con (HVAC), connectivity, hardware or software malfunction or failure.

Aggravated Down Time

Down time for blast impacted data centres can range from 2 to 6 months, depending on what gets hit.

Disruptions to data centres can lead to loss of confidence in a government or financial institutions. Or worse, a loss of customers owing to lack of system availability; denied access to online services, withdrawals or transactions; and huge legal suits from institutional clients. When the psychological trauma of a terrorist strike combines with denial of access to customer facilities, the chaos and panic is hard to envisage! Business or institutional costs can become astronomical… Click HERE to find out more about this article