Document Name: NCSA Physical Security Policy
Approved: Approved September 23, 2021 by IIB
This policy covers NCSA’s Facilities: data centers and computer rooms. That includes the National Petascale Computing Facility (NPCF), 1725 S. Oak St., Champaign (NPCF), the NCSA 3rd floor data center in room 3003 at 1205 W. Clark St., Urbana. The ACHE compute cage in the NPCF and it’s extension at NCSA in room 2105 is covered by the document but there are additional physical security policies documented in the ACHE policy and process documents.
This document applies to all NCSA Personnel, students, visitors, vendors and affiliates who would need access to the in-scope data centers and computer rooms.
Physical access to computing resources can bypass many software, network, and other logical controls in place to protect those resources. This policy establishes physical security controls intended to mitigate physical security risks to NCSA’s information assets.
For information regarding violations and enforcement, please refer to NCSA’s Security Policies & Procedures located at:
The required controls for physical protection are:
Work areas not open to the public should be accessible by individual credentials using their iCards that can be revoked or changed for one user without impacting the others. This allows Facility Managers to promptly revoke or change access credentials when NCSA Personnel exit the project or credentials are lost or compromised, without concern that active participants may lose needed access. Access should be logged and access to those logs restricted to the Physical Security Point of Contact, Facility Manager and Physical Access Coordinator.
All access is obtained through the use of issued credentials (i.e. iCards). It is prohibited to gain access to any space without proper credentials. Every individual must use their own credentials and may not use credentials issued to another individual. All temporary issued credentials must be returned at the end of a visit.
Any request for access (whether F&S, contractor/vendor, visitor, workforce member) must be documented as per the requirements in the Documentation section.
NCSA Personnel and students must have a request for access submitted to the Facilities Manager by their manager. The request must include proper justification. The request is approved by the Facilities Manager and access is granted.
For any type of work to be performed at the facility by Facilities and Services (F&S) and/or contractors/vendors requires a work authorization. The work authorization must be submitted two weeks in advance for approval to the Physical Access Coordinator and the Facilities Manager and the approved request is forwarded to the Physical Security Point of Contact. See the Documentation section for the work authorization request format.
Site access requires prior authorization and should be scheduled well in advance with the assigned workforce member sponsor. Sponsors are responsible for assuming that all requirements are met by the visitors for whom they are responsible. Site access will be only for the areas approved by the workforce member sponsor. Should access be needed to other areas, a new request is needed from and approved by the sponsor.
Non-NCSA Personnel visiting NCSA Facilities must be submitted to the Facilities Manager by the visitors sponsor who must be a workforce member. The request is approved by the Facilities Manager and access is granted. The approved request is forwarded to the Physical Security Point of Contact. These visitors must be escorted at all times.
In addition to the procedures documented for general access, these areas have their own policies and procedures. Please refer to the NCSA ACHE Facility Security Procedures .
Access to NCSA Facilities is revoked automatically when an NCSA workforce member leaves the institution or moves to another project precluding the need for access. Students, F&S personnel and contractors/vendors will have access revoked upon the end of their access granted term. Approval is granted for the following lengths of time:
Other conditions for revoking access would include but are not limited to:
At times, these policies and procedures require documenting and authorizing activities. Unless otherwise noted, all requests, changes, etc. should be documented by NCSA. Details on the documentation will be detailed in a separate document.
Workforce member and student access request format:
The contractor/vendor or F&S work authorization request format:
Visitor request format:
Physical access is audited annually by the Physical Security Point of Contact. The process for auditing physical access to NCSA facilities is documented separately with specific instructions ensuring that only authorized individuals have access and investigations and remediations are performed on unauthorized access. The process for auditing must cover: an audit of the physical access controls and a review of physical access privileges and activity.
The process for auditing physical access to the ACHE Cage and Room 2105 are documented by the Physical Security Point of Contact.
Physical security incidents shall be documented. Following an incident, any issues identified during the incident response process should be reviewed. Existing processes should be checked for accuracy and should be updated as necessary. It is recommended that a formal meeting occur to verbally review the incident to ensure that nothing was missed and all relevant information is recorded.
In addition to access logs, areas relevant to the physical security of highly vulnerable or valuable assets should be subject to video monitoring. Facility alarms should notify authorities in case of break-in, fire, or other conditions that require response from site protection.
Facilities and assets not normally manned should be monitored remotely and visited regularly to minimize the risk that damage (whether intentional or due to accident, weather, etc.) will go unnoticed.
The use of removable storage devices or external devices (e.g. USB Flash Drives) shall be restricted to NCSA Personnel only in order to safeguard and protect confidential data and information technology assets. Removable media containing sensitive data must be encrypted. Other authorized individuals may use removable media. Authorization for the use of removable storage devices must be granted in writing or by email by the physical security point of contact and specify the intended use of the device. The exception should be submitted as a ticket to the security group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A list of authorized uses of removable storage should be maintained by the Physical Security Point of Contact and audited annually.
Sensitive documents, media and equipment must be disposed of in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the information printed or stored.
Access points such as delivery and loading areas, and other points where unauthorized individuals may enter the premises, should be controlled. This would include:
Additionally, all ingress and egress points must enforce access rules (i.e. require proximity card readers and retina scanners). Ingress and egress points may not be unlocked, propped open or otherwise bypass physical security controls without prior written approval from the physical security point of contact.
Because equipment and services are vulnerable to failures caused by outages of supporting infrastructure such as power and other utilities, the following measures will be taken to ensure the integrity of that infrastructure:
Telecommunications cabling carrying sensitive data or supporting information services should be protected from interception or damage. Network administrators should consider implementing logical controls that will act as countermeasures to man-in-the-middle and other attacks that may involve network cabling. However, the following physical controls should also be implemented:
Equipment, information, or software should not physically be taken off-premises without prior authorization (see section on documentation). When equipment, information, or software is removed from the premises, the following precautions should be taken:
Any exceptions to this policy will require authorization from the physical security point of contact. The exception should be submitted as a ticket to the security group at email@example.com.
 Equipment Threshold Change - OBFS: https://www.obfs.uillinois.edu/equipment-management/equipment-threshold-change/
 Illinois Security Program IT15.2
 ACHE Facility Security Procedures