The Swiss have always had a reputation for keeping financial information safe from unwelcome visitors, and it looks as if this widely acknowledged trait is extending to the data center security sector as well.
According to a recently posted article by French news agency AFP, business is booming in the region, with a number of isolated underground army facilities now getting a second lease of life as a data center, many of which are already equipped with biometric security and – occasionally – armed guards. There are currently 55 data centers in Switzerland and in light of recent concerns regarding not only unauthorized access but also the potential for key card or password misuse, security industry analysts predict that the land-locked European nation could easily become a leader in the field.
Many of these underground facilities date back to the Cold War, meaning that they are already located in parts of the country that are – for all intents and purposes – well protected against intrusion. However, the Swiss have never taken data security lightly, with the news source noting that biometric technology is one of a number of technologies being employed to limit access to data server racks themselves – an essential part of providing clients with the confidence that data management and protection is at the heart of the operation.
For example, one data center near the village of Attinghausen was formerly the headquarters of the Swiss Army and although its actual location remains a closely guarded secret, its subsequent re-engineering is allowing companies from all over the world an opportunity to access the country's expertise in privacy. In an interview with the news source, Peter Gruter, head of the Swiss Telecommunications Association, noted that Switzerland is trading on its previous experience in what he referred to as "tight-lipped confidentiality," a situation that has allowed its data protection industry to appeal to a global marketplace.
"In other countries, all kinds of institutions have access to these data, but here you need permission from a judge," he said. "That is a great advantage compared to, for instance, the United States."
The news that the Swiss are making inroads into data security and management should come as no surprise to anyone who has a bank account there, but with data center security on the top of the agenda for many companies, knowing that there are underground bunkers protected by biometric security controls is likely to gain traction in a number of industry sectors. The Cold War may be part of history, but it seems that some Europeans will continue to find a use for the facilities it left behind.