Server safes and how they protect your business from digital espionage

Mark Brookes
Posted by Mark Brookes
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Businesses are extremely aware of the importance of IT security and the related threats, but one aspect often overlooked is the risk of signal interception.

Technology used to pick up the signals emitted by computers and servers is becoming more sophisticated and more widely available. As a result, companies are finding it necessary to protect the business-critical data housed in their IT systems from digital espionage.

What is signals intelligence?


All electronic equipment generates an electromagnetic field and "signals intelligence" is the practice of remotely intercepting those signals and then decoding the information they contain.

Server safes which prevent signals interception were originally developed for military use but now most modern server farms have this kind of protection as standard.

However, what most businesses tend to overlook are the servers which are located on their own sites.

How to prevent signals interception


As protection, sensitive equipment, such as servers, can be placed inside a safe or enclosure which acts as a Faraday cage.

Safes which protect servers against cybercrime and premeditated attack are a necessity in the digital age

A safe like this prevents the electromagnetic signals emitted inside the enclosure from being detected by anything on the outside.

The effectiveness of the shielding such a server safe provides depends on its construction so be sure to ask your security provider for details.

For example, all of the cables leading into and out of the server safe should be filtered to prevent signals being intercepted that way.

Additional protection against EMPs

Safes or cabinets which prevent electromagnetic signals from being detected have an added advantage. They also negate the effects of an electromagnetic pulse coming from outside.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is short-duration burst of electromagnetic radiation which can occur naturally or be man-made. EMPs have a crippling effect on the circuits we rely upon in modern electronics.

A server safe constructed to act as a Faraday cage works by distributing that charge or radiation around the exterior of the cage which cancels out the effects on the inside. In effect, the charge remains on the external surface of the safe.

Certified physical protection

As well as preventing cyberspying and protecting against EMPs, a server safe — like a normal safe — can provide a certain level of certified physical protection.


An independent certification is important as it gives you a guarantee about the level of protection your server safe has. As with normal safes, a grade is awarded which reflects the server safe's resistance to physical attack.

Grade and certifications differ, so ask your security provider for clarification about security levels.

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Topics: Server safes

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