Secure Building Infrastructure to Avoid Hacks - dummies

Secure Building Infrastructure to Avoid Hacks

By Kevin Beaver

Doors, windows, and walls are critical components of a building and can be used against you by a hacker. Consider especially the computer room or any area where confidential information is stored.

Attack points

Hackers can exploit a handful of building infrastructure vulnerabilities. Consider the following commonly overlooked attack points:

  • Are doors propped open? If so, why?

  • Can gaps at the bottom of critical doors allow someone using a balloon or other device to trip a sensor on the inside of a “secure” room?

  • Would it be easy to force doors open? A simple kick near the doorknob is usually enough for standard doors.

  • What is the building or data center made of (steel, wood, concrete), and how sturdy are the walls and entryways? How resilient is the material to earthquakes, tornadoes, strong winds, heavy rains, and vehicles driving into the building? Would these disasters leave the building exposed so that looters and others with malicious intent could gain access to the computer room or other critical areas?

  • Are any doors or windows made of glass? Is this glass clear? Is the glass shatterproof or bulletproof?

  • Do door hinges on the outside make it easy for intruders to unhook them?

  • Are doors, windows, and other entry points wired to an alarm system?

  • Are there drop ceilings with tiles that can be pushed up? Are the walls slab-to-slab? If not, someone could easily scale walls, bypassing any door or window access controls.


Many physical security countermeasures for building vulnerabilities might require other maintenance, construction, or operations experts. If building infrastructure is not your forte, you can hire outside experts during the design, assessment, and retrofitting stages to ensure that you have adequate controls. Here are some of the best ways to solidify building security:

  • Strong doors and locks

  • Windowless walls around data centers

  • A continuously monitored alarm system with network-based cameras located at all access points

  • Lighting (especially around entry and exit points)

  • Mantraps and sallyports that allow only one person at a time to pass through a door

  • Fences (with barbed wire or razor wire)