World's Most Secure Datacenter Upgrades Security with Cutting-Edge Access Control
When the world’s most secure data center upgraded its access control, it installed a system equally as secure as its 50-foot-deep, 38,000-square-foot concrete bunker, a fortification that many corporations across the globe entrust with their data.
Montgomery Westland Bunker, Montgomery, Texas, boasts of data protection such as reinforced concrete walls several feet thick, back-up diesel generators with underground fuel supply tanks, 24/7 dedicated security personnel, fully-equipped temporary work spaces to accommodate hundreds of office workers displaced by disasters, a bullet-proof glass reception area and unmatched cyber security for the dozens of tenants who utilize the site as a primary or backup IT facility. The bunker is part of a 52-acre data campus that’s 350 feet above sea level with another 100,000 square feet of office space above ground.
This high level security operation has attracted more than 50 clients, including ExpressJet, Continental Airlines, Anadarko, and NASA, that are searching for datacenter redundancy far outside their own headquarters. Montgomery Westland’s clients can’t afford data downtime due to disasters, such as hurricanes or terror attacks. Instead, they’ve found at Montgomery Westland, total security of data and personnel between Dallas and Houston, which can accommodate hundreds of displaced workers with temporary furnished offices, computers, internet access and family housing. The site even has its own food storage and well water supply.
Now the facility has upgraded its access control system to equal other security measures. Previously, access control consisted of a simple proximity card system with limited user capabilities. The new Frontier® Standard access control system from Matrix Systems, Miamisburg, Ohio, offers access control to more than 35 bunker doors, and perimeter vehicle and pedestrian fencing gates. Cutting-edge benefits include biometric identification, historical tracking of both doors and users, alarming capabilities and a host of other security features.
The new system will also save money by requiring only one proximity ID badge, instead of the several badges required by the city’s past array of vender access control systems. “Having one ID card will save the city money in productivity and maintenance costs versus the old methods,” said Steven Frey, a city systems analyst that’s overseeing the vendor access control implementation.
“We promote secure access control in our service level agreements (SLA), so our system must be extremely reliable and have or surpass the security features that our clients are accustomed to at their home offices,” said Jymme Gomez, president, Montgomery Westland.
Biometrics is one feature that separates Montgomery Westland from other datacenter facilities. Three biometric readers by Ingersoll-Rand Security Technologies, Carmel, Ind., require card credentials as well as fingerprint identification to enter a bunker floor and a private suite area. Montgomery Westland scans and adds fingerprint identification to the Frontier database within seconds to allow newly authorized employees to enter sensitive areas.
Test Run With Hurricane Ike
The first parts of the access control upgrade had just been installed when Texas experienced Hurricane Ike, the third worst hurricane in U.S. history, which killed more than 100 people and caused $30 billion in damages. Ike was a true test for Montgomery Westland’s strategy in a worst-case scenario—securing data and providing hundreds of employees a workspace to continue business operations uninterrupted. Learning from the setbacks many coastal businesses experienced from Hurricane Katrina, Continental Airlines moved 300 Houston employees to the bunker before the hurricane without missing a beat upon arrival. All of the two daily shifts of employees over the course of six days received access control ID’s quickly from the Digital Identification Solutions (DIS-USA), Greenville, S.C., credential production station and its seamless integration into the Frontier software. Consequently, Continental Airlines was able to maintain its industry-leading customer service throughout Ike’s rampage, even though the entire operation was relocated 42 miles inland from its downtown Houston offices.
The recently completed upgrade also brought the facility’s total number of CCTV cameras up to 45 using equipment by Pelco, Clovis, Calif.; Panasonic Security Systems, Secaucus, N.J.; D-Link, Fountain Valley, Calif.; Toshiba Security Products, Irvine, Calif.; and Speco Technologies, Amityville, N.Y. Speco also provides several 1-terabyte DVR’s that hold up to 90 days of recorded footage.
Withstanding a Nuclear Holocaust
The bunker was built by Westland Oil founder and nephew of Chiang Kai-shek, Ling-Chieh Kung, a recluse who believed a nuclear holocaust was imminent. He built the underground fortress to protect himself and his company. After Westland Oil’s bankruptcy, the property sat vacant until purchased by Montgomery Westland’s parent company, Montgomery LP. The latter, an investment partnership consisting of Dallas-based Pudge Properties and limited partners, has a combined 40 years of real estate development experience.
Beyond a multitude of features and proven reliability, Russell Thompson, facility manager, and Matt Hicks, assistant engineering manager, appreciate the fact that Montgomery Westland saved nearly $20,000 on the access control installation. Matrix Systems provided the system design. However, Montgomery Westland’s facility group installed all the components, which is an option Matrix Systems offers customers adept in electrical installation. “We saved money, but as a result of installing it ourselves, we also can troubleshoot most future service issues in-house,” said Thompson.
Additionally, key executives have been trained to operate and oversee the workstation and software portion of the system, and thus far have not needed any of the 24/7 customer service help that Matrix Systems makes available to all customers.
As Montgomery Westland attracts more clients with its secure facility, plans call for building 100,000 more square feet of underground space and adding another 3,000 square feet to its current 22,000 square feet of raised-floor space. The above ground continuity space will add 320,000 square feet to its current 100,000 square feet.