Physical security: a criticalcomponent of IT resilience

Global Switch released findings from a European survey revealing that the financial services sector continues to lead the way on all aspects of business continuity. Most notably, banks and insurance companies continue to place the highest importance on the physical security of IT infrastructure compared to any other sector.

86% of the financial institutions polled believe a breach in physical security is the most important consideration when protecting their IT environment. This is closely followed by access to diverse power supplies and the control of temperature and humidity. As a result this sector has the highest proportion of fit-for-purpose IT environments, be it an own data centre building managed by an in-house team or a specialist data centre building.

In contrast, other sectors questioned about the importance of securing the physical environment expressed differing attitudes to the threats posed by unauthorised access to sensitive equipment and data. Only 57% of online businesses place significance on providing the highest levels of ‘IT security’ with maximum physical security in and around the building that houses their IT infrastructure. This is particularly alarming as 55% of online business choose to house their data centres in traditional office buildings where office-based personnel present the greatest everyday risk.

Attitudes across Europe also differ when it comes to providing the optimum protection for mission-critical IT equipment. Almost 90% of companies surveyed in both the UK and France recognise that physical security is critical to IT resilience. While organisations least likely to protect their IT infrastructure against intrusion and malicious attacks are located in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

Julian King, commercial director of Global Switch comments: “The strong results from the financial sector and the UK in particular, indicate a high awareness of the impact that high quality physical environments have on business continuity. Protecting against intrusion is critical and should not be overlooked in favour of the more popular discussions over IT and network security. They should all have equal consideration. Limiting access to authorised personnel and providing a highly controlled environment will reduce the likelihood of both human error and malicious attack. “

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