Physical and Environmental Security - Amazon Web Services: Overview of Security Processes

Physical and Environmental Security

AWS data centers are state of the art, utilizing innovative architectural and engineering approaches. Amazon has many years of experience in designing, constructing, and operating large-scale data centers. This experience has been applied to the AWS platform and infrastructure. AWS data centers are housed in facilities that are not branded as AWS facilities. Physical access is strictly controlled both at the perimeter and at building ingress points by professional security staff utilizing video surveillance, intrusion detection systems, and other electronic means.

Authorized staff must pass two-factor authentication a minimum of two times to access data center floors. All visitors are required to present identification and are signed in and continually escorted by authorized staff.

AWS only provides data center access and information to employees and contractors who have a legitimate business need for such privileges. When an employee no longer has a business need for these privileges, his or her access is immediately revoked, even if they continue to be an employee of Amazon or Amazon Web Services. All physical access to data centers by AWS employees is logged and audited routinely.

Fire Detection and Suppression

Automatic fire detection and suppression equipment has been installed to reduce risk. The fire detection system utilizes smoke detection sensors in all data center environments, mechanical and electrical infrastructure spaces, chiller rooms and generator equipment rooms. These areas are protected by either wet-pipe, double-interlocked pre-action, or gaseous sprinkler systems.

Power

The data center electrical power systems are designed to be fully redundant and maintainable without impact to operations, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units provide back-up power in the event of an electrical failure for critical and essential loads in the facility. Data centers use generators to provide back-up power for the entire facility.

Climate and Temperature

Climate control is required to maintain a constant operating temperature for servers and other hardware, which prevents overheating and reduces the possibility of service outages. Data centers are conditioned to maintain atmospheric conditions at optimal levels. Personnel and systems monitor and control temperature and humidity at appropriate levels.

Management

AWS monitors electrical, mechanical, and life support systems and equipment so that any issues are immediately identified. Preventative maintenance is performed to maintain the continued operability of equipment.

Storage Device Decommissioning

When a storage device has reached the end of its useful life, AWS procedures include a decommissioning process that is designed to prevent customer data from being exposed to unauthorized individuals. AWS uses the techniques detailed in NIST 800-88 (“Guidelines for Media Sanitization”) as part of the decommissioning process.