Home > Articles > Security > Network Security

📄 Contents

  1. Developing Your Standards
  2. Standards that Everyone Can Use
  3. Summary
  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Standards that Everyone Can Use

Some standards apply equally to the mainframe, telecommunications, and open systems environments. Physical standards are a good example. When devising physical standards, the recovery planner will be interested in everything that could cause a disaster within the building. Such possibilities include things like fire, water, intrusion, and various physical security items. This first phase of standards planning will be very familiar to people who are already well-versed in mainframe or general recovery planning, since the same kinds of security and installation standards that apply to large computer room installations generally apply to large telecommunications and/or open system (LAN) installations. For example, the following areas deserve a critical look:

  • Physical security
  • Equipment theft
  • Telephone cable entrance facilities
  • Fire-retardant cable
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Halon systems

Let’s briefly examine some of the details of these areas.

Physical Security

There are a number of people within any organization who think they own the building. I’m not joking. The MIS manager, since he or she "owns" the computer room, probably feels that he or she is the rightful "owner" of the building. The security person at the front desk also thinks that he "owns" the building. One of the issues that your standards document should address is the inevitable turf issues: Who will rewire the building? Who will provide security? Who decides who gets in and who stays home after a disaster? Who will provide physical security to a building that has sustained a disaster?

Physical security is very important for a number of reasons. For example, if your job is related to information technology, you know that there are graceful ways to shut something down, and there are ways that keep you busy for a week afterward fixing corrupted files. Unauthorized persons in your building could wreak havoc on technical equipment by shutting something down unintentionally. And even true authorities can cause damage—were you aware that the fire department will cut power to your building immediately after taking charge of it? Doesn’t it make sense to post directions for the fire department in key locations about who to call, and how to shut down the equipment gracefully? Might your IT staff’s cell phone numbers be included on the posted signs?

Starting to see the point? If you think an idea makes sense, the standards document is the place to make that idea into a policy.

Equipment Theft

As systems become more and more distributed, Intel-based "open" systems are becoming common in today’s decentralized environments. Unlike the IBM systems of the past, these systems tend to "get legs" and often end up in pawnshops. Ditto laptops and Palm Pilots. Regardless of department, nobody wants their equipment to be ripped off. For that reason, part of the physical security process should include a "parcel pass" system to ensure that the person leaving your building with a laptop computer or other equipment really is entitled to leave with that equipment, by documenting the fact that he or she came in with it. The successful parcel pass system includes a mechanism whereby a user coming into your facility "signs in" his or her notebook computer, PDA, or whatever. Your security system should also include a check of briefcases or any carrying cases large enough to hide small equipment.

Think PDAs are a trivial concern? This could be a costly mistake. What would happen if a high-level employee’s PDA is stolen? Can’t imagine? Well, suppose the CEO of your company dropped his or her PDA in an airport. How much sensitive information about your company (private phone numbers, for instance) would suddenly become public? What would the liability be to the company for such things as insider trading?

Telephone Cable Entrance Facilities

Without telecommunications, your organization is toast. The physical audit of your facility should therefore include all cable entrance points into and out of the building. It makes little sense to pay a lot of money for diverse cable access, only to bring this cable through the same building penetration into your facility. Any place the cable comes in, in one common location, is an obvious point of failure, including sabotage from people working in the building, fires, or any number of other causes. Therefore, it’s a pretty good idea to have your telecommunications people assess these input/output locations for single points of failure. The situation is similar for cable that goes between floors. All facilities between floors should be fire-stopped with a fireproof material to keep a fire in an equipment closet below one floor from spreading to another. And all of these facilities should be locked and secured from unauthorized personnel.

Fire-Retardant Cable

Inside the building, fire-retardant telecommunications cable should be specified when possible (it’s required by local building codes in most places anyway). Traditionally, the standard has been Teflon cable; however, another popular material used for fireproof cable is Kevlar—yes, the same material used in bulletproof vests. In older locations, many of the cables are probably made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)—in other words, plastic. When burned, PVC creates noxious fumes; add water, such as from a sprinkler or a fireman’s hose, and you’ve created hydrochloric and sulfuric acid compounds.

It’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in all cable closets, along with instructions prominently posted so that people are well versed with the use of the extinguisher. A no-smoking policy is common today in many companies, but it’s an absolute necessity in a cable vault. Cable vaults can produce hydrogen gas, which is very combustible when mixed with oxygen. (Remember the Hindenburg?)

Fire Suppression Systems

There are three primary means of fire suppression within large commercial buildings:

  • Carbon dioxide systems
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Halon

Carbon dioxide is effective in fighting fires because it interrupts the combustion cycle by removing the oxygen from the air. There are two problems with carbon dioxide systems, however:

  • It might kill you—an obvious concern. Carbon dioxide removes the oxygen from the air, so people cannot be in the room with it. Therefore, carbon dioxide is primarily used in unmanned areas.
  • Thermal shock. Any Vietnam-era veteran will remember that the quickest way to cool a six-pack of beer is to put it in a garbage can, get a CO2 fire extinguisher, and give the six-pack a good long blast. The beer ends up nice and cold because the carbon dioxide in the extinguisher comes out at 150 degrees below zero. While that’s an amusing image, it graphically illustrates a point: Even if people aren’t asphyxiated in an environment with carbon dioxide, they’ll probably suffer thermal shock because of the cold. This is another reason why carbon dioxide isn’t used in areas where people need to work.

Sprinkler systems are very effective at fire suppression. More and more commercial buildings are requiring sprinkler systems to be installed even if one of the other two options (Halon or CO2) is used, and regardless of whether electronic equipment is being installed. There are generally two schools of thought with regard to sprinkler systems:

  • "Thou shalt never run water over electronic equipment."
  • "Go ahead and install sprinkler systems over the equipment—it can still be restored."

Most of us have heard the first axiom, so let’s consider the second. In situations today where equipment gets wet, engineers for the equipment or cleanup companies pull the boards out of the equipment, dip them in special solutions, and use a blow dryer to dry out the inner guts of the equipment. They’re actually pretty good at this solution. In fact, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. The advantage, obviously, is that it’s much cheaper to revitalize wet equipment than it is to replace it. The disadvantage is that equipment restored in this fashion can be trouble-prone in the future.

Generally speaking, sprinklers don’t leak. They’re pressure-tested and installed according to very exacting specifications. The problem is that people cause most disasters, and disasters involving sprinklers are no exception. In equipment rooms with a 10-foot clearance for sprinklers, it’s almost guaranteed that someone will try to roll an 11-foot crate through that clearance area. I’ve also seen instances of people crawling through a suspended ceiling (perhaps to pull cable) and stepping on a sprinkler pipe, causing a leak.

One way of avoiding these types of problems is to use some type of dry-pipe, pre-action, or pre-charged sprinkler system. Here’s how they work:

  • A dry-pipe sprinkler system doesn’t actually store water overhead in the equipment room; as the name implies, the dry-pipe keeps the water out of the equipment room until the fire alarm is tripped. An electromechanical device and a valve located outside the equipment room keep the water safely away until it’s needed. When the first alarm system trips, the valve opens, allowing the water into the pipe inside the equipment room. Then, when the filament for the sprinkler system melts, the water comes out.
  • Pre-action and pre-charged sprinkler systems work similarly to the dry-pipe system, some using an inner gas inside the sprinkler system to hold the water back, and others using a valve. For more information on these types of sprinkler systems, contact your company’s authorized fire prevention supplier.

The place to define all of this information? Again, in your standards document.

As mentioned earlier, specialists are available to help in the event that your equipment does get wet. One company that specializes in these types of emergency restorations is BMS Catastrophe in Ft. Worth, Texas. Another, SERVPRO, is a nationwide franchise. Either can professionally restore equipment to operating condition. They can be called after a disaster—and after your insurance has kicked in, I might add—to clean up the mess. Their numbers should be prominently displayed in your recovery plan and standards document.

Halon Systems

Halon was a great, albeit expensive option for fire protection, but it’s falling out of favor due to environmental concerns. Halon works in much the same fashion as carbon dioxide systems, with one major exception: Because breathing it or being exposed to it is not harmful, Halon can be used in rooms with humans. Rather than taking the oxygen out of the air, or displacing the oxygen as carbon dioxide does, the Halon molecule interrupts the combustion cycle required to sustain a fire. Therefore, it’s possible for people to remain in the room and still breathe normally during a Halon discharge.

If you have Halon in your equipment area, however, beware: Halon is not effective against very deep-rooted electrical fires, like those that can start below your raised floor. These kinds of fires require very little oxygen to burn. Furthermore, Halon is only going to get more expensive. It is a CFC, like those used in commercial refrigerants, and as such it impacts the ozone layer in the atmosphere. Halon is being phased out, and what’s left is becoming prohibitively expensive.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020