Information security in general practice

Securing your network and equipment

Protecting and maintaining your physical hardware

        1. Protecting and maintaining your physical hardware

Last revised: 21 Apr 2023

Protecting and maintaining your physical hardware

There are several ways to ensure your practice’s physical hardware is maintained and protected.

Tips for protecting your physical hardware

  • All computers should be kept reasonably dust free, especially over the intakes for the cooling fans.
  • Be familiar with the operating temperature limits of your servers, as overheating is one of the major causes of server failure.
  • Server room temperatures should be regularly monitored, and dedicated air conditioning installed if required. You should consider installing a thermometer in the server room.
  • Take extra precautions over the summer months – run air-conditioning overnight on hot days or install ceiling suction fans.
  • Always follow vendor guidelines, and seek professional advice from your technical service provider.
  • Ensure your technical service provider assesses the ‘computer heartbeat’. This is a signal occurring at regular intervals to indicate a computer is working correctly, or synchronised with other parts of the system. If the heartbeat is not available, an error may have occurred. ​

Create a policy: Hardware maintenance

Your practice policy and procedures should include hardware and physical maintenance.

Your policy should confirm the requirement for:

  • all system maintenance performed by your practice team or technical service provider to be documented
  • regular hardware maintenance to be undertaken. This may include:
    • checking battery life on the UPS
    • preventive maintenance
    • planned upgrades
    • monitoring server room temperatures regularly​

Create a policy: Physical protection

Your practice policy and procedures should include physical network and hardware protection.

Your policy should cover:

  • how all removable computer equipment is secured from theft or damage
  • the physical location of your server to ensure it is secured with limited and controlled access
  • how the server is identified so practice team members know which computer is the server
  • how software disks and backup media are physically protected
  • how computer monitors are positioned in open-access areas to prevent unintentional viewing of information
  • appropriate use of screensavers
  •  your clear screen policy
  • your clear desk policy
  • appropriate paper document management
  • the secure disposal of hardware
  • how to delete all data on devices
  • How and when to perform a routine clean around the back of computers and other equipment
  • Controlling environmental conditions (e.g. extreme heat)