Data centers are becoming increasingly popular among companies looking for easy, secure ways to store their information. As a result, huge centers are opening, smaller ones are joining together and CIOs are turning to these facilities more and more.

But as the data centers grow in size and complexity, so too must their security measures. Many of them store valuable data for companies with hundreds of thousands of clients – data including email addresses, passwords, social security numbers and bank accounts. As such, these data centers should have the same security as a bank, if not more. Fortunately, there are cutting edge biometric technology platforms that can provide foolproof protection from malicious thieves and underhanded company officials.

Biometric access control relies on the unique physical aspects of an individual instead of a key or a pass code. Fingerprints, hand prints, even retina patterns are all one-of-a-kind characteristics that can be used to gain security clearance. Plus, these systems can control access from the front door all the way to each server cabinet, allowing as much security as possible.

Huge Dallas data center set for opening
Quality Technology Services LLC of Overland Park, Kansas, plans to open a massive data center in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, reported Kansas City Business Journal. The 700,000 square foot data center will inhabit an former semiconductor plant and can double in size if necessary.

QTS now owns 12 data centers totaling over 3.8 million square feet and housing data for 850 clients. With so much to keep track of, it can be difficult to trace and neutralize any breaches that may occur. Plus, the sheer magnitude of the centers makes them a good target for data thieves. But if the technology service provider turned to a biometric security system, they would greatly reduce the chances of a breach.

Canadian government consolidating outdated centers
Canada has enacted a long-term plan to reduce the number of its data centers by combining many of the smaller silos into larger, more complex bases, according to Data Center Dynamics. Recently, the Canadian government opened a center in Ontario at a military base, one of seven modern sites in which it plans to consolidate its current 485 legacy data centers.

"Our government is committed to providing the facilities and equipment that are needed to provide efficient, effective and secure services to Canadians, while respecting taxpayers' dollars," Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and the Minister responsible for Shared Services Canada, said in a statement. "Establishing these modern and efficient data centers will reduce costs, improve service and increase security."

It is her last point that may prove the most important. Making the significant reduction requires considerable labor, maintenance and IT maneuvering. As a result, some of the data centers could be left vulnerable during the transition. But through a physical identification access control system, the Canadian government can be sure that only officials with a high level of security clearance will be able to access the valuable hardware.

Open Compute Project spreads data center innovation
In 2011, Facebook engineers launched the Open Compute Project as a means of encouraging the flow of ideas regarding efficient data center practices, reported CIO Insight. Some of the ideas, which include how to effectively scale data and computing infrastructure, have saved Facebook an alleged $1 billion. It has garnered attention from big names like AMD, IBM and Microsoft.

Stanford University research fellow Jonathon Koomey, an expert on energy and data center efficiency, sees opportunity in the Open Compute Project.

"Data centers contain a lot of needless variability and a lot of archaic assumptions. The goal for Open Compute is to remove some of this needless variability and reduce the cost of deploying IT infrastructure … OPC introduces new data center designs, creates standards and, in the end, alters some of the underlying assumptions," Koomey told CIO Insight. "It also changes the way organizations think about and manage data. It's all about standardization."

He went on to say that "an enterprise that is able to innovate and able to innovate rapidly is at an advantage."

For that reason, biometric security is a must for companies that seek to be at the top of the food chain. The bigger the center, the more clients, the more opportunity for devastating breaches. The Open Compute Project could be a way for various data centers to describe how they implemented different access control measures and to what degree of success. This open forum might also help drive innovation and lead more data centers to the realization that their security may be compromised and that there is a better method available to them.

Find out how RSA achieved uniform access control from the front door to the server cabinet by downloading our whitepaper here.