Benefits of HVAC Systems

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Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is an important topic for the Security+ exam. If you’re planning on taking the exam, you should have a good understanding of HVAC systems. For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Your organization is evaluating replacement HVAC systems and is considering increasing current capacities. Which of the following is a potential security benefit of increasing the HVAC capabilities?

A. Lower MTBF times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

B. Higher MTBF times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

C. Lower MTTR times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

D. Higher MTTR times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

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Over 440 realistic Security+ practice test questions

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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Importance of HVAC Systems

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are important physical security controls that enhance the availability of systems. Quite simply, computers and other electronic equipment can’t handle drastic changes in temperatures, especially hot temperatures. If systems overheat, the chips can actually burn themselves out.

The cooling capacity of HVAC systems is measured as tonnage. This has nothing to do with weight, but instead refers to cooling capacity. One ton of cooling equals 12,000 British thermal units per hour (Btu/hour), and typical home HVAC systems are three-ton units. Higher-tonnage HVAC systems can cool larger areas or areas with equipment generating more heat.

The amount of air conditioning needed to cool a massive data center is much greater than you need to cool your home, primarily because of all the heat generated by the equipment. If your home air conditioner fails in the middle of summer, you may be a little uncomfortable for a while, but if the data center HVAC system fails, it can result in loss of availability and a substantial loss of money.

Mean time between failures (MTBF) is a measure of a system’s reliability. If temperatures aren’t controlled within a data center, it decreases the MTBF times, resulting in more frequent failures. In contrast, if an HVAC system keeps systems at a consistent temperature, it tends to increase the MTBF times, resulting in fewer failures.

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 I worked in several environments where we had a policy of shutting down all electronics when the room temperature reached a certain threshold. When we didn’t follow the policy, the systems often developed problems due to the heat and ended up out of commission for a lot longer than the AC.

Most servers aren’t in cases like a typical desktop computer. Instead, they are housed in rack-mountable cases. These rack-mountable servers are installed in equipment cabinets (also called racks or bays) about the size of tall refrigerators. A large data center will have multiple cabinets lined up beside each other in multiple rows.

These cabinets usually have locking doors in the front and rear for physical security. The doors are perforated with cold air coming in the front, passing over and through the servers to keep them cool, and warmer air exiting out the rear. Additionally, a server room has raised flooring with air conditioning pumping through the space under the raised floor.

Remember this

Higher-tonnage HVAC systems provide more cooling capacity. This keeps server rooms at lower operating temperatures, and results in fewer failures and longer MTBF times.

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The 401 Version of the Study Guide is Now Available

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

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Using Hot and Cold Aisles

Hot and cold aisles help regulate the cooling in data centers with multiple rows of cabinets. The back of all the cabinets in one row will face the back of all the cabinets in an adjacent row. Because the hot air exits out the back of the cabinet, the aisle with the backs facing each other is the hot aisle.

Similarly, the front of the cabinets in one row is facing the front of the cabinets in the adjacent row. Cool air is pumped through the floor to this cool aisle using perforated floor tiles in the raised flooring. This is the cold aisle. In some designs, cool air is also pumped through the base of the cabinets. This depends on the design of the cabinets and the needs of the equipment.

HVAC Systems

Consider what happens if all the cabinets had their front facing the same way without a hot/cold aisle design. The hot air pumping out the back of one row of cabinets would be sent to the front of the cabinets behind them. The front row would have very cold air coming in the front, but other rows would have warmer air coming in the front.

Of course, an HVAC also includes a thermostat as a temperature control and additional humidity controls. The thermostat ensures that the air temperature is controlled and maintained. Similarly, humidity controls ensure that the humidity is controlled. High humidity can cause condensation on the equipment, which causes water damage. Low humidity allows a higher incidence of electrostatic discharge (ESD).


 

Q. Your organization is evaluating replacement HVAC systems and is considering increasing current capacities. Which of the following is a potential security benefit of increasing the HVAC capabilities?

A. Lower MTBF times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

B. Higher MTBF times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

C. Lower MTTR times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

D. Higher MTTR times of hardware components due to lower temperatures

Answer is B. Increasing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) capacity results in higher mean time between failures (MTBF) times by keeping systems at lower temperatures.

Lower MTBF times indicate more failures. Mean time to recover (MTTR) is unrelated to failures or HVAC systems.

See Chapter 9 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on implementing environmental controls.

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Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
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  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
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  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
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  • 100 question post-assessment exam
  • Security+ Acronyms

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Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 100-question tests

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34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

22 Realistic Performance-based Questions

Two new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 22 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

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  • 280 Security+ acronyms flashcards to help you master the required acronyms
  • 204 Security+ Remember This slides

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Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types:
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Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

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