Acting as the last line of defense, the lock and key can prevent unauthorized access within a data center cabinet. But did you know that most manufacturers ship their data center cabinets with the same lock and key? If you need additional security (and peace of mind) for your equipment, changing the lock core or using a combination dial lock is a good alternative.

Here are the different types of locks available:

Traditional Key Lock

Included in every cabinet purchase, traditional key locks are the standard type of lock. Traditional key locks provide the least amount of security compared to other types of locks because most vendors ship their cabinets with the same lock and key. Although traditional locks are included without additional cost, there are disadvantages to these locks including the need for multiple keys for multiple staff and the inability to automatically track who accesses what and when. Other users of the same rack possess the same key for potential unauthorized access, which is another security concern.

Combination Dial Lock

For an additional cost, most manufacturers offer the combination dial lock separately. Most rack handles can be retrofitted on existing cabinets with minimal installation time. Once installed, the cabinet door can be opened only when the combination is entered correctly. Alternatively, the key can be used as a manual override. Similar to the traditional key lock, the combination dial lock can not automatically track who accesses what and when. Although the level of security is better than the traditional key lock, there are also some disadvantages including the need to manually configure the combination for each handle as well as the need to manually change each combination as necessary.

Card Reader Lock

With the ability to integrate with the existing access control management system, the card reader lock provides manageable and trackable access through RFID cards. The card reader lock allows the data center or network manager to easily control, modify, or remove user access to specific racks. These locks also eliminate the need to track physical keys or modify locks and combinations. The main disadvantage to card reader locks is the inability to ensure that the card holder is the legitimate user.

Dual Authentication Lock

Adding an extra layer of security, the dual authentication lock is a mixture of two authentication processes to ensure access to the legitimate user. The typical combinations are a keypad, key card, or biometric authentication. Using many different classes of card formats, these locks require an access control system or another type of control equipment.

Biometric Lock

Using biological data (finger or palm print) as an authentication process, the biometric lock is a sure-proof method to guarantee user authenticity. Used in the most secure environments, biometric locks require an access control system and additional steps in setting up user accounts.

 Type of Lock Example Level of Security Price
Modified Key Lock* traditional lock for data center rack Good $
Combination Dial Lock combination data center lock Better $
Card Reader Lock card reader for data center rack Best $$
Dual Authentication Lock dual lock for data center rack Best+ $$$
Biometric Lock biometric lock for data center rack Best+ $$$

* A modified key lock is a traditional lock and key but with the lock core changed


For more articles on data center racks, read Case Study: Rack and Overhead Installation for Edge Data Center and Is White The Way To Go. Questions? Connect with us at (877) 647-2728 or solutions@mirapath.com.