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Is a Cage Really the Safest Physical Environment for Your Data?

Ed Dzurko

Data Center Security

Those seeking a dedicated cage environment with a hosting provider are sometimes under the false impression that caged floor space is more secure than other physical options. A common perception is that a dedicated cage environment provides an unparalleled level of security as well as the ability to meet auditing requirements; both viewpoints are not necessarily accurate. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of the features and benefits of all available physical security options before assuming a cage is the best and only option. Use cases for dedicated cage spaces can be difficult to define.

Shared racks

  • Ideal for customers with minimal compute and storage needs.
  • Secure and locked rack environment.
  • Space is shared with another customer.

Half racks/full racks

  • Half and full racks have the same features, except for space.
  • Physically autonomous and segmented from other customers.
  • Secure and accessible only by the customer.
  • As an additional security feature, two-factor authentication is available for half and full racks, in addition to dedicated cages.
  • Cameras can be installed in each cabinet to capture the image of the person opening the cabinet to record activity within the environment.
  • Full racks may be a better choice for customers anticipating consistent growth.

Colocation Compliance Requirements

A common misconception, particularly among organizations with significant compliance requirements, is that housing an environment in a cage is a requisite. In reality, while audit requirements do entail physical security stipulations for securing data and hardware, nowhere within the audit mandates for HIPAA or PCI-DSS, for example, is there a specified requirement for a cage space. The requirement is actually for “strong access control.”

Read our latest white paper, Data Center Security and the Cage: What Really Keeps Your Data Safe? to learn more about assessing the physical environment that will work best for your business.

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