From its inception, the integrity of the data collected by the Hurricane Network has been paramount. From the data logger to the central data center to final archival storage, utmost care has been taken to record and preserve accurate and unadulterated wind observations. To help ensure this, industry best practices are employed in the areas of security, load balancing, fault-tolerance and redundancy.
The result of this approach is at least five copies of identical data: one on the data logger, two at the central server, and two at the offsite archival location.
The H2 data logger is designed to store up to a year’s worth of data in non-volatile memory. If communications go down during an event, weather data will continue to be collected and safely stored locally. The data will then be transmitted to the central data center as soon as communications are restored. In the unlikely event that communications are not restored in a timely manner, data can be manually recovered from the data logger by a field technician. Moreover, even if the logger were to be separated from its tower or pole, there is a high probability that the data collected would still be intact.
Weather Station Security
The Hurricane Network towers and poles on which the sensors and data loggers are mounted have been made as physically secure as practical. All tower locations are behind locked gates and/or barbed wire fences, and in all cases the equipment is mounted at least ten meters above ground level.
Under normal conditions, weather data is transmitted in near real-time via GPRS modem. Data transmissions are encrypted over the air, with each discrete observation record validated by a checksum. If an individual transmission fails, it is re-transmitted at a later date.
Central Data Center
The observation data arrives at the central data center on one of several machines in a cluster of processing servers. From there, the raw data and communications are logged to a robust, fault-tolerant file server. Next, raw data is inserted into a database for easier reporting and redundancy. Finally, the raw data is processed through a strict set of quality control and reduction algorithms, and these processed data sets are stored in a separate database for easy presentation on our websites in map and graphical formats.
Data Center Security
Physical access to equipment at the data center facility requires technicians to pass multi-layer security control procedures. Entrance to the facility requires a security badge scan and biometric palm-reader scan. Inside the facility a combination door lock must be opened to gain access to Hurricane Network IT hardware. Staff monitors physical access 24×7 by closed-circuit video and alarms. The internal network at the data center is protected by a firewall and intrusion detection/prevention hardware appliances. Remote administration is done through secure encrypted terminal software over a secure encrypted hardware-level VPN tunnel. Software security is monitored through a suite of custom integrated host-based intrusion detection systems. The latest security scanners are used to monitor open ports, filesystem changes, and scan for known vulnerabilities.
Final Archival Storage
The data is regularly archived offsite by compressing and transmitting the raw logs to a geographically separate facility through a secure, encrypted VPN tunnel. The data is stored automatically on hard drives and periodically written to removable optical media.