Physical Structure Security
In the Navy we often decide we need computer
equipment and then wonder where we are going to
install it. The existing building (or shipboard
compartment) may not lend itself to the physical
security requirements needed to protect the system.
Things like false overheads (ceilings) can conceal
water and steam pipes. The pipes should be checked on
a regular basis and any irregularities reported
immediately. Personnel should be familiar with the
locations and operation of the cut-off valves for the
pipes. Air-conditioning ducts in the overhead, if not
properly insulated, can result in condensation, causing
water to drip down on the computer.
When repair work is scheduled within the computer
spaces (working under the raised floor or in the
overhead), be sure to take all necessary precautions to
protect the equipment. Use plastic sheeting to cover the
system (particularly the CPU). Watch out for overhead
water or steam pipe bursts and for activated sprinkler
systems. Ensure maximum personnel safety, while
keeping disruption to a minimum. Dust coming from
the work area can damage the equipment: clogged
filters result in overheated components, a head crash on
a disk drive, dirty read/write heads on tape drives, and
so on. Remember, the key word is to protect all AIS
Should your equipment be exposed to
water, do not turn it on until it has been
thoroughly checked out by qualified
Power Supply Protection
Your computer facility and remote terminal areas
require adequate power. Variations in electrical power
can affect the operation of computer equipment. Most
computer equipment is designed in such away that it is
able to rectify the incoming ac current, filter it, and
regulate the resulting dc current before it is applied to
the computer circuitry. However, this filtering and
regulation cannot be expected to eliminate voltage
variations beyond a reasonable range. Power
fluctuations can cause unpredictable results on
hardware, logic, and data transfer. Should your system
encounter such fluctuations, it is highly recommended
that the equipment be shut down at once until the
problem is corrected.
Some computer systems are equipped with an
uninterrupted power source (UPS). A UPS provides the
auxiliary power for your equipment that may be
required if your commands mission dictates
continuous AIS support to fulfill its obligations or if
your computer system is in an area where there are
frequent brownouts. Auxiliary power should be
checked on a periodic basis.
Fire protection is one of the major elements of any
commands physical security program. All personnel
(military and civilian) receive periodic training in
emergency procedures in case of fire. The training
usually includes, at a minimum, proper equipment
shutdown and startup procedures, information about
your fire detection and alarm systems, use of emergency
power (especially aboard ship), use of fire-fighting
equipment, and evacuation procedures.
Master control switches are used to shut off all
power to your AIS spaces in the event of fire. If your
air-conditioning system is not setup for smoke removal,
it is probably connected to the master control switches.
The master control switches are normally located at the
exit doors, so in an actual emergency you do not have
to pass through a dangerous area to activate the
switches. These switches should be easily
recognizable. They are clearly labeled and protected to
prevent accidental shutdown. Commands that process
critical applications will have master control switches
that allow for a sequential shutdown procedure of your
equipment. Learn the location of the switches and
procedures used in your computer spaces.
There will be enough portable fire extinguishers for
you to fight a relatively small or self-contained fire.
Extinguishers are placed within 50 feet of the computer
equipment. Prominently displayed markings and/or
signs are above each extinguisher, and each is easily
accessible for use.
Be sure to use only carbon dioxide or
inert-gas fire extinguishers on electrical fires.
One final note. Experience has shown repeatedly
that prompt detection is a major factor in limiting the
amount of fire damage. Computer areas require a fire
detection system capable of early warning and with an
automatic fire extinguishing system.