Mobile phones in Datacentres - yes/no

Answered Question
Jan 27th, 2010

Hello,

I work in a company who have upgraded from an old 10 year old datacentre to a brand new building.  I have been given the job as Data Centre Manager.

We are a cisco house, with 20 odd cisco routers, switches, firewalls, in the Dc plus a Telemetry outstation.

We have around 50 physical servers and racks with 30 servers on Dell blades with SAN storage.

We have 10 racks in use and these are watercooled.

I have my access policy in place and general rules, etc for engineers.

BUT - i dont know whether to bar mobile phones from going into the DC.  Alot of companies bar mobiles and you have to leave them outside but we are only a smallish company with 10 racks so i dont see what all the fuss is about.  Its my decision but i would like some advice on why i  should or shouldnt allow engineers to enter the DC with their mobiles.

At the moment i dont have a phone in their so i would have to install one if anyone thinks mobiles are a bad idea to be in there.

Q. Is allowing mobile phones into the DC really such a big deal?

Kevin

I have this problem too.
0 votes
Correct Answer by Leo Laohoo about 6 years 10 months ago

A significant number of data centres here in Australia have Faraday cages installed that bar mobile phones signals.  They also insist that mobile phones be handed over to the security staff before you enter.  This is mainly practiced in government network.  But it doesn't make any difference because any data centre is notoriously known for the noise level generated by equipments' cooling fan.  Even without the ban of mobile phones, it's still very difficult to use it inside a very noisy data centre unless you find a quiet corner to do your troubleshooting.

In my current occupation, we need cameras to record proof of the neatness of our work ... particularly before handing over the network to the client.

Correct Answer by Ganesh Hariharan about 6 years 10 months ago

Hello,

I work in a company who have upgraded from an old 10 year old datacentre to a brand new building.  I have been given the job as Data Centre Manager.

We are a cisco house, with 20 odd cisco routers, switches, firewalls, in the Dc plus a Telemetry outstation.

We have around 50 physical servers and racks with 30 servers on Dell blades with SAN storage.

We have 10 racks in use and these are watercooled.

I have my access policy in place and general rules, etc for engineers.

BUT - i dont know whether to bar mobile phones from going into the DC. Alot of companies bar mobiles and you have to leave them outside but we are only a smallish company with 10 racks so i dont see what all the fuss is about.  Its my decision but i would like some advice on why i should or shouldnt allow engineers to enter the DC with their mobiles.

At the moment i dont have a phone in their so i would have to install one if anyone thinks mobiles are a bad idea to be in there.

Q. Is allowing mobile phones into the DC really such a big deal?

Kevin

Kevin,

Genrally it is not threat to provide access for mobiles in DC it will be only a radio frequency interference which can affect the environment but i have experienced in some other DC where they never allow to take mobile phone inside the DC as per there security policies.

Mobile phone with camera are not allowed and is also recommendation that camera mobile should not be allowed as peoples can take pic of the current configuration or any device lying inside the DC for leaking the information.

If a network enggineer dont take the mobile phone inside the DC he is also having problem to troubleshoot the ongoing activities in devcies from where he getting support.

so my suggestion is you just have landline phone with only incoming facility or mobile phone without camera to allow inside the data center.

Hope to help

Ganesh.H

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Correct Answer
Ganesh Hariharan Thu, 01/28/2010 - 02:06

Hello,

I work in a company who have upgraded from an old 10 year old datacentre to a brand new building.  I have been given the job as Data Centre Manager.

We are a cisco house, with 20 odd cisco routers, switches, firewalls, in the Dc plus a Telemetry outstation.

We have around 50 physical servers and racks with 30 servers on Dell blades with SAN storage.

We have 10 racks in use and these are watercooled.

I have my access policy in place and general rules, etc for engineers.

BUT - i dont know whether to bar mobile phones from going into the DC. Alot of companies bar mobiles and you have to leave them outside but we are only a smallish company with 10 racks so i dont see what all the fuss is about.  Its my decision but i would like some advice on why i should or shouldnt allow engineers to enter the DC with their mobiles.

At the moment i dont have a phone in their so i would have to install one if anyone thinks mobiles are a bad idea to be in there.

Q. Is allowing mobile phones into the DC really such a big deal?

Kevin

Kevin,

Genrally it is not threat to provide access for mobiles in DC it will be only a radio frequency interference which can affect the environment but i have experienced in some other DC where they never allow to take mobile phone inside the DC as per there security policies.

Mobile phone with camera are not allowed and is also recommendation that camera mobile should not be allowed as peoples can take pic of the current configuration or any device lying inside the DC for leaking the information.

If a network enggineer dont take the mobile phone inside the DC he is also having problem to troubleshoot the ongoing activities in devcies from where he getting support.

so my suggestion is you just have landline phone with only incoming facility or mobile phone without camera to allow inside the data center.

Hope to help

Ganesh.H

ohareka70 Thu, 01/28/2010 - 11:57

Ganesh.H

I think you are right.  I will get engineers to leave their mobiles outside the datacentre when the sign in and when they sign out again they can collect them.  I think i might go for 1 landline phone for phone calls.

Thanks for the advice

regards

Kevin

Correct Answer
Leo Laohoo Thu, 01/28/2010 - 13:42

A significant number of data centres here in Australia have Faraday cages installed that bar mobile phones signals.  They also insist that mobile phones be handed over to the security staff before you enter.  This is mainly practiced in government network.  But it doesn't make any difference because any data centre is notoriously known for the noise level generated by equipments' cooling fan.  Even without the ban of mobile phones, it's still very difficult to use it inside a very noisy data centre unless you find a quiet corner to do your troubleshooting.

In my current occupation, we need cameras to record proof of the neatness of our work ... particularly before handing over the network to the client.

shailesh.h Tue, 04/13/2010 - 09:11

It's really good thought to challenge but answer lies with you based on few assessments

1. How physical access to DC controlled (i.e. who is allowed to enter DC) , why and when.

2. Who are the users of DC (one client or multiple clients)

3. Who are the visitors vendor / contractors / employee / facility person

4. What is the possible threat electronically due to interference of mobile signals

5. What threat if Engineer / external party used camera available in in mobile

6. what is the alternative menthod if Engineer / external party needs to update peers on the phone (incoming and outgoing).

Answer to this can be

1......You can define policy statement that mobile phones not allowed in DC.. (you have to put expenses on removing and storing their mobiles in safe place with token facility). this will involve admin cost

2...... You may provide phone (minimum two) with cordless facility so that engineer / external party can interact with their peers to share valid information for troubleshooting / installation / upgradation

3.......Effective CCTV system to capture the information (this can provide vigilience on the DC visitor) and based on mis-use you may think in future you really need to ban mobiles..

In nutshell I would suggest to assess information based on security vs. cost and at present will allow mobile users enter DC.. with control through access policy...

Don't forget to rate if information useful to you...

Shailesh

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