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The Unsung Hero: Data Center Security

What it’s like to Work inside a Data Center

Data Centers are cold, dry and generally very loud places to visit, let along work at. As much as we rely on these heavily secured facilities it’s easy to forget about the technicians who spend hours a day inside a server room.

These unsung heroes are responsible for installing, monitoring and at times, rebooting our servers when we can’t connect to an IP address on a network. If you’ve ever been to a data center one phrase instantly comes to mind; White noise. I spoke to our data center technician and asked him why he doesn’t wear ear plugs, to which he replied, “I dunno, I guess you just get used to it.”

I imagine going to rock concerts every week for a year might have the same effects on one’s hearing. You know, the occasional ringing or very slight, if not alarming amount of random high frequency feedback resonating from your ear drum. Yikes! Loud noise and risk of hearing damage aside, the data center can also be a very alienating place to be.

Did I mention there is also a lot of heavy lifting involved, not to mention an alarming amount of work-related injuries? Even still, the data center technician I have come to know is fearless, and willing to undertake the rather large responsibility of monitoring mission critical networking equipment nearly every single day.

Why are data centers so isolated?

That’s a good question that has many answers. For starters, data centers are heavily secured with onsite protection, and for good reason. Paranoia of security breaches run rampant but rarely, if not ever happen. Biometrics security systems are sometimes used to grant entry and only to a select few (technicians among them).

As such, a data center technician likely finds themselves all alone for the duration of their shift. They might see a guard or two on their way in and out of the building, or perhaps another technician from down the hall, but that’s about it. Yet the funny thing is, most technicians I know don’t mind. After-all, working with people is overrated.

Technicians are the Gatekeepers

Technicians are surrounded by the machines that make our modern world possible; Servers that bridge the divide between east and west, north and south and everything in between. Inside are meet-me-rooms loaded with miles of fiber cabling, switch gear and routers. That gear is what connects us – transferring precious bits of data all across the world from one endpoint to another, within seconds. This, in and of itself, is truly amazing.

Data centers are monuments to the technical achievements of the past 40 years. Think of all the highly intelligent people that spend their lives thinking about how to improve upon connectivity, energy efficiency and cooling within these facilities. Then think about those who actually go to work every day to bring those plans to fruition. Data center technicians are like any unsung hero really; there are those who come up with the funding, strategy and logistics, and then there are those who are actually on the front lines making things happen. So raise your glass to your fellow data center technician next time you see them, or, at the very least offer them a pair of earplugs.


Author – James Mulvey

Contributor to

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