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Old 07-21-2011, 04:20 PM   #1
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Creating a very secure room


I want to start planing the construction of my server room and I'd like it to be very secure and hard to break into. Just wondering if anyone has any ideas?

I don't have much metal working tools (welding etc) so anything metal will probably be hard to do, but if that's the only way, I'm willing to learn.

As for wood I have most of the main tools of trade at least when it comes to framing. I've never actually did it before but it can't be that hard, I tend to just pickup this stuff.

What I'm thinking is to do standard walls but space the studs every 4" instead, so if they punch a hole through the drywall they can't physically get through. Each stud will have rebar on each side that will be strapped in somehow, so a sawzall blade or other cutting tool will have lot of trouble going through.

For the door, I'm not sure yet what I want to do, but definitely not a standard door as the only thing really protecting a standard door lock is two little screws at the latch. Even a metal outside door can be kicked in pretty easily. So I will probably custom build something. I also want to make it part of the wall. Basically I'm thinking some kind of rotating bookcase idea, but I'll probably go with something that slides behind the wall as it will be easier and require less clearance. On the inside of the server room where the 4" space studs are exposed, I will build another wall but make it standard spacing, enabling me to put fiberglass insulation, this is mostly just for sound proofing. I'd double the drywall too. Now for the sliding door locks, I'm thinking some kind of solenoid system that is activated from a hidden location in the house. I'm thinking a small panel with like 10 buttons, and they have to be in the proper on/off configuration for the solenoids to lodge themselves in the right position for the door to open. Basically like lock tumblers.

Any other ideas or comments on what I've come up with so far?

Idealy I just need the room to be as discouraging as possible to get into, and have them give up and just steal something else, if they've made it into the house. If the room is concealed well enough they may not even realize there is a room there at all.

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Old 07-21-2011, 04:45 PM   #2
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Creating a very secure room


who are you trying to keep out? This sounds like WAY overkill for your average random "smash and grab" type break in.

If you simply made the entrance a somewhat hidden door in the back of a coat closet I would think you wouldn't even have to lock it unless you are trying to keep out people who know what's back there.

If you don't have to go into the room often, just build a big book case and screw it to the wall over the entrance with 1 drywall screw in each corner, you don't even need a door. no theif trying to get in and out with stuff they can sell for drug money would ever bother ripping a bookcase off the wall on the off chance that there is a secret room behind it

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Old 07-21-2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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The correct new blade in a Sawzall eats through rebar pretty easy.

I’d be thinking reinforced block wall with a heavy steel door. Think jail cell.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:20 PM   #4
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The correct new blade in a Sawzall eats through rebar pretty easy.

Id be thinking reinforced block wall with a heavy steel door. Think jail cell.
I was thinking this too. The odds of someone bringing a sawzall / blade with them is slim, but nothing stops them from bringing in a hand operated one, perhaps one they've rigged themselves. Heck maybe a plain old hacksaw could work now that I think of it. These thieves that keep showing up seem to be persistent and they seem to be after something. it's the second time they break into my car and don't take much. Well last time they took my garage door opener with intention of robbing the garage, but they took nothing. It's really weird actually. It's like if they are testing the waters before they come in with a big gang or something.

I was thinking of a block wall at one point too. Would having such walls have any negative impact on the basement floor though? I'm adding quite a lot of weight there. What about if I was to fill them with cement? The floor is a bit over a foot thick and this would be near a foundation wall, if it matters.

The odds of someone going through tons of effort to get in is probably slim, but I want to be prepared for the worse.

I guess if I hide it well enough I can maybe get away with the standard wood/drywall, too, but cinder blocks may be worth considering. They would also add to the soundproofing value of the room which is a plus.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:22 PM   #5
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Creating a very secure room


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The correct new blade in a Sawzall eats through rebar pretty easy.

Id be thinking reinforced block wall with a heavy steel door. Think jail cell.
This sounds like a good route if you really need this room. Sounds like way too much though. I can't imagine what server could be that sensitive...

I've designed server rooms for large hosting companies and trading corporations. Multi-million dollar server rooms and all they had was standard walls with standard doors. They alarmed the doors and video monitored the surrounding areas.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:26 PM   #6
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Three things if residential:
1. Alarm
2. 2 Belgian Malinois

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:26 PM   #7
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Creating a very secure room


I'm planing on putting an alarm on the house sooner than later, so I have that part covered. This is if they just don't care about the alarm or disable it somehow and still manage to get in the house. Basically they'll either not even notice it, or wont bother because it's too hard to get in. The downside of where I live is all the wiring is aerial, so disabling the alarm would not be that hard. A pair of plyers and it's done deal. No more phone or electric service. Though I will be putting a pretty heavy duty UPS on any alarm related equipment so not too worried about the power part.

I can replace my TV and everything else, but I can't do anything about sensitive data. Not to mention I only do offsite backups of the very most important stuff as I don't have the bandwidth to do everything.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:02 AM   #8
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They would also add to the soundproofing value of the room which is a plus.
Blocks don't burn either.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:53 AM   #9
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In my occupation I encounter many police officers and the number one deterrent are dogs.

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Old 07-22-2011, 07:43 AM   #10
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In Oklahoma we call that a tornado shelter.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:54 AM   #11
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Creating a very secure room


Mirrored server farm at another location, alternative backup operating site, plus everything else of a comprehensive disaster plan.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:39 AM   #12
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If you are worrying about people climbing poles to cut aerial wires and dismantling alarm systems, then you should spend the money on a security team and not a security room. If you anticipate people going through those lengths, then no room will stop them.

Have you considered moving? How about contacting a server-based hosting company?

I guess I'm a little lost on the fact that you want to build a Fort Knox worthy room in the middle of what you describe to be the Ghetto where people are going through great lengths to steal your digital pictures...
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:51 AM   #13
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If you add a cinder block wall (especially if it is filled with concrete) in your home, you will need to make certain that the load from that wall is correctly transferred to your foundation. Relying on your existing joists without adding a new foundation or beam will cause a problem.

I suggest getting a house alarm and a dog as the first line of defense. You should then try to hide the access to the server room by having the door in a closet or behind a book shelf. If you can't hide the entrance, get a nice steel security door. Then, if you are worried about an intruder breaking through the wall, change the stud spacing to every 8" and add 1/2" plywood to the wall before you add drywall.

I don't know what you have on your servers but unless you have top secret missile data that the Chinese might be interested in stealing, you are probably over designing the server room. In reality, if an intruder REALLY wanted to get into your room, they would find a way. Even if you put in a cinder block wall, I would be able to get into your room. I'd climb into your attic, kick a hole in the ceiling, grab the stuff, and be out in 2 minutes.

Last edited by loftezy; 07-22-2011 at 10:52 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:58 AM   #14
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Even if you put in a cinder block wall, I would be able to get into your room. I'd climb into your attic, kick a hole in the ceiling, grab the stuff, and be out in 2 minutes.
Uh oh You just added a reinforced concrete ceiling into the mix...
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:59 AM   #15
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Just remember...The FBI can get into anything.

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