We hear the news every day. Another major data breach, some even emanating from lapsed data center security. With consumers and companies both concerned about losing important data or having identities stolen, the question looms. What can be done to secure the places that hold our data?

Many options are available
For years, many companies have employed passwords, passcards and keys to limit access to the data centers and server cabinets with varying degrees of success. According to a Mashable study,  78 percent of all organizations have been the victims of data breaches over the past two years. For small businesses, a data breach could mean insolvency after all the repair and recovery costs are tabulated which is why 72 percent of small businesses affected by data breaches go out of business within two years of the incursion, said Mashable. Not all breaches are from insider or external malicious sources. Mashable found that 60 percent of small companies don't routinely back up data or install applications with vulnerabilities.

Breaches are expensive
A Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power survey found that the average cost of data breaches per minute runs approximately $7900. Downtime is becoming more expensive and Larry Ponemon told Data Center Knowledge that the price-hike, while staggering, is not at all unexpected.

"Given the fact that today's data centers support more critical, interdependent devices and IT systems than ever before, most would expect a rise in the cost of an unplanned data center outage compared to 2010," explained Ponemon. "However, the 41 percent increase was higher than expected. This increase in cost underscores the importance for organizations to make it a priority to minimize the risk of downtime that can potentially cost thousands of dollars per minute."

Biometric security
Many companies are turning to biometric technology in an attempt to secure access control to the physical infrastructure of the company. By investing in this cutting-edge approach, businesses can minimize unauthorized access to the data center or any other area of the facility by using an employee's own non-duplicable identifier, their fingerprints. Fingerprint scanning technology works by having a worker place their finger on a fingerprint scanner. This captures the fingerprint and creates a template of the employee's print with certain parts of the finger's impression. When the worker wants to gain access they must, again, place their finger on a fingerprint reader. The system then matches the print to the person and allows access. If the print doesn't match, no access is granted to the facility.

The Ponemon/Emerson survey showed that the average amount of data center downtime following a breach is roughly 86 minutes. At $7900/minute, that's an expensive "oops" moment for any company. The survey also indicated that 91 percent of the respondents had reported an unplanned outage at the data center in the past two years.

Sixty-seven data centers were queried during the survey and it turned out that the more a company's revenue models depended on IT and networking delivery to consumers, the higher the cost of a data center breach with the largest single event cost coming in at $1.7 million.

Biometric technology continues to adapt and grow to stay ahead of the evolving threats – internally and externally – and companies continue to explore and merge their operations with biometrics to obtain the absolute best protection available in today's market. Investment to prevent catastrophic loss is a smart business move and one that could actually help keep a successful business in operation for years to come.

A data loss can sabotage a profitable business,ruin reputations, damage equipment and lead to regulatory and legal repercussions in the not-too-distant future.

Download our whitepaper here to discover how to create indisputable audit trails with proper physical access control.