City Lifeline has been a provider of data center colocation since 1993 and security has always been a top priority. With over 28,000 square feet and capacity for over 600 racks in the heart of London’s new Tech City Area, City Lifeline operates to Tier 3 standards of resilience and reliability. An impressive 24 carriers provide data communications to around 90 customers collocated with them.

As a secure provider of shared data center space, City Lifeline needed to ensure they could reliably give their clients insights into the access of each area of their facility as well as provide enhanced levels of physical and data security. With a steady flow of 10-15 authorized visitors per day as well staff on the premises, the swipe cards they were previously using presented a conflict to this mindset – the inherent weakness in swipe cards is that they can be shared, lost, forgotten, borrowed and even stolen.

With the completion of their ISO27001 certification, City Lifeline confirmed the need to upgrade their access system to one that relied on the true identity of authorized users. It was the only way to ensure the people, processes and IT system risk management fitted the requirements of the certification.

“As part of our ISO27001 certification, we are required to operate to very high levels of security in our data center” said Ian Tait, Technical Manager of City Lifeline. “The only way to achieve this would be to be forward-thinking in our measures.”


City Lifeline approached their provider at the time, ACS Systems, to recommend a biometric solution. Using a biometric solution would solve their “who” problem, as an individual’s biometrics are completely unique. Implementing biometrics would also position them as a forward-thinking provider. Suprema’s world-renowned biometric algorithms and superior engineering put BioConnect (Suprema’s UK operating partner) as a front runner for deploying biometrics. The quality of support from the BioConnect team and specifications of specific Suprema biometric readers solidified the deal.

City Lifeline chose a combination of Suprema BioEntry Plus and BioLite Net for the flexibility in range and aesthetics, indoor and outdoor certification and also multi-factor authentication capabilities (fingerprint, card and PIN) which made it easier to address all the access control desires of particular personnel — clients, visitors and staff (both permanent and contracted).


“Clients don’t expect to have to wait to access their data, and they needed to see the visible benefit of using biometrics over swipe cards,” said Tait. “The new system has given us the insight we need to do that.”

The solution has been in full operation since September 2012 and has provided many benefits for City Lifeline including reputation with their current clients, capacity to attract new clients, auditing effectiveness and a return on investment from replacing cards.

Reputation: City Lifeline’s forward-thinking approach to security has resulted in greater trust from their current customers. With each visitor that enters the facility, their security administrators are easily able to report back to their clients what areas each person was in (data hall, rack), what time and with confidence that the data being presented is accurate. “Clients don’t expect to have to wait to access their data, and they needed to see the visible benefit of using biometrics over swipe cards,” said Tait. “The new system has given us the insight we need to do that.”

Access Control Audit Log: Reporting and traceability has been a key benefit of the solution. City Lifeline has multiple tenants visiting daily, they now have the ability to report on activity within their space for auditing purposes.

New Client Recruitment: With the growing costs associated with “big data” (and the subsequent transition to a shared space to store that data) they continue to have more clients interested in their space. The BioConnect solution with Suprema readers has given them the ability to demonstrate security and assurance to their potential clients. The sleek design of the readers also looks very impressive and is used to advertise the quality they provide.

Return on Investment: Ian Tait, Technical Manager of City Lifeline also mentioned the associated return on investment of biometrics since they no longer need to replace cards that have been lost, forgotten or borrowed.

About City Lifeline

City LifeLine is more than a data center, it is a living community, right in the heart of London’s new Tech City area. We have been here since 1993. City Lifeline can help you, from giving you a secure, connected home for your most critical operations, to outsourcing all of your IT. We can connect you to the most obscure parts of the world or connect you with the lowest possible latency to other facilities in London. Come and talk to us, take a tour, and become part of the City Lifeline family.