How Facebook protects data with physical security

Facebook takes an integrated approach to keeping data safe. Even the company’s office buildings are designed to put physical protection between servers and the public.

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Thorough cybersecurity takes more than tech: That’s the thinking at Facebook, where Chief Global Security Officer Nick Lovrien deploys physical security to protect data. Yes, canine units and human guards stereotypically keep people safe, but when properly integrated, physical security protects information as well.

Acting as a final layer to a perimeter defense, Facebook’s global security data centers team guards intellectual property. It’s an integrated approach where even the company’s office buildings are designed to put physical protection between servers and the public.

“Everything we should do is based on ruthless prioritization,” Lovrien says. “Move fast and build things.” To speed development, the company has an open office floorplan. “Nobody has an office at Facebook,” he explains — “Mark, Sheryl, CEO, COO, nobody.” 

Lovrien admits a workplace where so many guests come in or out is “obviously a different approach to creating that safe and secure environment, but the risk level that that has technically is offset by the collaboration and the output and the impact that we feel it enables.” In other words, the business needs open offices, so security has to deal with it.

For starters, within that open environment, every location has “secured spaces” — areas Lovrien describes as shared areas beyond access control points. This, of course, includes the data centers.

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