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Physical Protection. Division of Computer Studies. Objectives. Identify the natural disasters that threaten computer systems Determine the damage assessment and reconstruction techniques (for example how to recover from lost data)

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Physical protection

Physical Protection

Division of Computer Studies

Y K Choi


  • Identify the natural disasters that threaten computer systems

  • Determine the damage assessment and reconstruction techniques (for example how to recover from lost data)

  • Design and select the physical location of a computer server, computer room etc. (where is the best location for computer room?)

  • Measure the air conditioning and power supply sources for computer center, servers and communication equipment (this will disrupt the service.)

  • Describe the various access control mechanisms to prevent unauthorised entries (use password, key/lock)

Y K Choi

Natural disasters
Natural Disasters

  • By definition, a natural disaster is defined as any event that is an act of God or the result of natural causes that are not avoidable.

  • A computer server is more prone to earthquakes in Japan than in Hong Kong.

  • If a computer server is located at Kam Tin, it was more prone to flooding during rainy season.

  • Computer and communication equipment are sensitive to environmental and temperature conditions: that is too hot, humid, cold or inadequate power and software will affect the performance.

Y K Choi

Type of natural disasters in hong kong
Type of Natural Disasters in Hong Kong








Y K Choi

Earthquake or bomb explosive
Earthquake? Or bomb explosive?

  • All equipment and human will be destroyed.

  • There is nothing you can do.

  • There is why you should not install ONLY one computer centre. (Might be one in Tokyo or the other in Hong Kong)

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Radiation nuclear power generation plant
Radiation – Nuclear Power Generation Plant

  • There is a threat that the nuclear power plant might generate leakage. So far, it has not happened in Hong Kong.

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Radiation monitoring
Radiation Monitoring

  • Environmental Radiation Monitoring Programme (ERMP) This is linked to Hong Kong Observatory.

  • This web site contains many information on radiation.

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Storms and typhoon
Storms and Typhoon

  • This is the typhoon York in 1999.

  • From Hong Kong Observatory

  • In Telephone exchange centres, protection against power surge due to thunder storm is installed.

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Floods computer becomes useless
Floods – computer becomes useless

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  • Floods are due to natural causes such as rainstorms, tides in Hong Kong. Say for example, you forget to close the window, while your servers are close to it.

  • In areas prone to flooding, you should locate your computer equipment well above the ground level. It might happen in China, but is unusual in Hong Kong.

  • Falling water: This is common in Hong Kong. If sprinkler systems are present in computer room, you should prepare plastic sheets so that you can cover all equipment in case there is a surge of water. You should change the sprinkler system to other types.

Y K Choi

Threats from water
Threats from Water

  • Flooding may be caused by rain or pipes overflowing

  • Please note that once a computer is wet, it cannot function.

  • If you were the manager, you should install water sensors below the raised floor. This sensor will alter the user.

Y K Choi


  • Fire is extremely dangerous as it damages not just the equipment but also the human.

  • Life is far important than equipment.

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  • Fire can be more serious than flooding as it affects human lives (not barbecue)

  • As the fire spread, there is no time to remove the computer equipment and data.

  • A well-planned disaster recovery plan and fire drills (rehearsal) should be practiced.

  • A windowless location with fire-resistant access doors and nonflammable walls can prevent fire spreading.

Y K Choi

Fire extinguisher http www fire extinguisher101 com
Fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are divided into four categories, based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power. For example, from Class A to D. Class A is for ordinary use (water), class B or C (carbon dioxide) while class D is for chemical plant. Class B is enough for computer room.

Y K Choi

Protecting against fire and smoke
Protecting against fire and Smoke

  • Use smoke detectors and check the function

  • Place a fire extinguishers near the computer room/communication equipment room

  • No smoking in computer areas

  • Use CFCs (or carbon dioxide) fire extinguishers rather than water-based (class B or C)

Y K Choi

Fire and smoke detectors
Fire and Smoke Detectors

  • Smoke detector

  • Fire detector

  • detectors will sound loud, 85 decibel alarms to alert the user of smoke buildup. This could be due to a fire. The device is easily attached to walls or ceilings with batteries.

Y K Choi

Physical facilities
Physical Facilities

  • In the early days, protection was simple as all equipment was kept in a single room with lock.

  • Today, with computers and servers becoming cheaper and smaller, protecting the environment is difficult.

  • Physical security involves tangible measures that are instituted to protect the facility, equipment and information from theft, misuse and disclosure etc.

Y K Choi

Computer room
Computer Room

  • A typical computer room with smoke detector, water sprinkler and raised floor air conditioner

Y K Choi

Physical layout of a computer room http www cyberzone net operatio htm
Physical Layout of a computer room:

Computer room before

Computer room after

Computer room during

Computer room in operation

Y K Choi

Selecting the physical location
Selecting the Physical Location

The physical requirements for security can be met taking the following into account: (from Karen Forcht)

  • Place the computers and servers from main building traffic areas such as far from corridors

  • Avoid a location with outside walls and windows

  • Impose secure door locks

  • Install separate power sources and air conditioning systems (essential power in computer lab.)

  • Install backup light – such as torch

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Cityu s computing services centre
CityU’s Computing Services Centre

Far from students

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Air conditioning equipment
Air Conditioning Equipment

  • It should be independent of the rest building.

  • It should be connected to the fire detection and extinguishing system.

  • Additional smoke exhaust should be installed for emergency use.

  • The alarm should allow sufficient time for a system halt (system halt means no service).

Y K Choi

Access controls
Access Controls

  • It includes key-locks, card-key locks, etc

  • Digital Keypad Locks digital access control locks for any door retrofit any standard knob or lever programmable from the keypad

  • Fingerprint (identify a finger) or photo identification

  • The controls include mirrors to eliminate blind spots in these areas (check with CSC, you will find that it has CCTV and mirror)

Y K Choi

Access controls1
Access Controls

Digital lock, use password to open the door

Computer lock to safeguard the equipment

Access card

Finger print

Y K Choi

Physical checklists example of division of computer studies
Physical checklists – example of Division of Computer Studies

  • Security guard

  • Closed circuit TV

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Access gate

  • Access key lock

  • Sprinkler system

  • Central air-conditioner

  • Essential power (the highest priority to provide power)

  • Computer lock

Y K Choi

Physical checklists example of computer services centre csc 1
Physical checklists – example of Computer Services Centre (CSC) (1)

  • Identification mechanisms - password

  • Entrance control – with Cityu’s card

  • Guard control – with a security guard

  • Television surveillance – closed circuit TV

  • Environmental alarms – alarm in the corridor

  • Fire suppression system – fire extinguisher

  • Fire communication – security office 8888

  • Emergency evacuation – fire exits

  • Remote site backup – NO

Y K Choi

Physical checklists example of csc 2
Physical checklists – example of CSC (2) (CSC) (1)

  • Disaster recovery plan – Yes

  • Locate computer facilities in low traffic areas – in TSC room

  • Install power sources independent of other areas – essential power supply and uninterruptible power supply

  • Make ceilings and walls watertight – check by yourself

  • Prohibit smoking, easting and drinking in computer room – Yes

  • Place breathing apparatus units around facility – NO, but there is a safety box

Y K Choi

Web site on safety and health
Web site on safety and health (CSC) (1)

  • There is a web site developed by CityU students to learn the knowledge on safety/security on computer server.

Y K Choi

Summary (CSC) (1)

  • The protection of the computer and server room is the first step in securing the operation.

  • Natural disaster such as flood, fire, earthquakes present a real threat

  • Backup copies should be kept in a safe place

  • Computer room should have separate air conditioning, power and electrical supply with fire detection

  • To prevent unauthorised persons, access controls such as locks, password should be installed.

  • Web site:

Y K Choi

Next week
Next Week (CSC) (1)

  • Web Security

  • Contents

  • Definition of Web security

  • Browser <- >Internet <-> Server

  • Risks that affect the above three

Y K Choi