Businesses are finalizing their IT budgets for 2014, and many of the larger items on them focus on the data center. For companies moving forward with data center construction, improvements are general upgrades but one key consideration should be improving data center security.

Optimizing data center operations often relies on technology investments such as advanced cooling, new servers or better power management solutions. However, one factor that can be reducing productivity and keeping facility engineers and maintenance from optimizing their own workflow is physical access control. Key cards, passcodes and other legacy entry security solutions could be holding professionals back from achieving true efficiency, forcing setbacks and limiting how much staff can do in a day. Furthermore, these systems present security risks should a key or magnetic card be lost, or a password cracked.

In order to eliminate these threats and optimize workflow simultaneously, businesses should consider including biometric technology within their next data center upgrades. Biometric security solutions allow firms to streamline access control and set tighter restrictions of accessibility at different levels of operations, from building-wide security down to the server rack itself. Optimally, this will let a business customize and scale its security needs.

Relying on fingerprint scanners for access also minimizes risk of lost or stolen keys, and promotes a stronger security work ethic. Professionals can’t lose their fingers under normal circumstances, and restricting access can be simplified as well through optimized access control software.

Rather than deploying advanced server technology, expanding a data center itself or deploying expensive new cooling systems, businesses should consider putting their IT budget toward optimized security that streamlines access without increasing risk within one of a a businesses most valuable resources.