Access Denied

We live in security-conscious times, but how secure are we? Cameras follow our every move all the way from the parking lot at the local grocery store to the ATM outside the bank, but thieves still routinely steal identities. Some buildings claim to be theft-proof, but, nevertheless, things within have a tendency to seemingly walk away by themselves.

Yes, if there's anything certain in this world, it's that nothing is totally safe, not even within the utilitarian world of equipment enclosures. To be fair, racks-both wall-mounted and free-standing-have, in recent years, taken big strides in shedding their strictly utilitarian image thanks to new architecturally attractive designs. But whether utilized in public spaces or out-of-the-way equipment rooms, the need for rack security is as strong now as ever.

Building a secure rack environment is a job that should be approached on an application-by-application basis. That's the opinion held at Lowell Manufacturing, where it's also held that rack security should successfully address three major issues: tampering, theft/vandalism and problems associated with natural disasters. The first takes aim at providing selectable and authorized access to rackmounted equipment. The second relies upon the use of accessories and custom-fabricated components to insure equipment safety, and the third brings greater stability as well as higher survival rates to rackmount gear via the use of PE-certified/IBC qualified racks and cabinets for essential facilities.

"Limiting access goes a long way toward creating a secure rack environment free from tampering, but it still only addresses specific battles, not the entire war," said Lowell engineering manager, Kevin Ditch. "Equally important is the matter of safeguarding the equipment itself from theft. In many cases, gear that's mounted with only a few screws can easily be removed, any connecting cables cut, and it's gone in a matter of seconds."

To thwart potential gear thieves, Ditch promotes the use of rack shelves with built-in security covers. For environments with more extreme levels of risk, he also recommends the use of products like rack kits, which are used to rackmount components lacking mounting "ears" and also provide the security of extra clamping brackets.

"If someone wants to steal or tamper with something badly enough, they are going to do it," Ditch added. "But if you put enough roadblocks in the way, you'll be more secure.

"Bottom-line, you should think about rack security as if it were a system," Ditch concluded. "Effective parts are always the sum of the best system whole. Therefore, the more components you introduce into your security efforts, the better off you are, depending once again on your needs. Simply applying a solid door with a lock may work in one case, while another may require a clamping system we custom-make, security covers, doors with multiple locks, and more."