Word of the Day: Bollard

ClearPath Forward3 minutes readMar 26th, 2014

Multiple choice: A bollard is . . .

(a)     A leafy vegetable grown in warm climates. “Mmm, fresh bollards for supper. Thanks, Momma!”

(b)     A migratory bird. “Ya know, Ole, there’s nothin’ quite so stirring as a flock of bollards in flight.”

(c)     Weights on the end of a pole. “Look at that guy on the high wire. He couldn’t do it without bollards!”

(d)     A parliamentary maneuver to get a bill out of committee. “Well, Senator, I guess your bollard showed them they can’t stonewall you.”

(e)     A slang term for nerve. “Tryin’ to steal home? That guy’s got a lot of bollards!”

(f)       A 4th generation firewall. “I tweaked the bollard configuration; that should keep those pesky junior high kids out.”

(g)     A drone. “Looks like trouble, sir. The sky is full of bollards.”

(h)     Ballast. “The channel was too shallow, so I had to release some of the bollards.”

(i)       A science-fiction engine component. “I’m tryin’ to go to warp speed, Captain, but the bollards are failing me.”

If you selected (a) through (i) you’re just guessing. The correct answer is “(j) any of a series of short posts set at intervals to exclude vehicles.” And I’ll bet you wondered why we’d be discussing salad greens in a security blog!

Bollards are part of the physical security landscape, and although we focus on technical security, physical security is indispensable in the total security picture for a data center.

You’ve probably seen thigh-high posts in front of Unisys buildings, Target stores, and other businesses. You might have wondered what they were called; now you know. Some bollards are fixed in place, whereas others lower into the ground to let authorized vehicles pass. To see a bollard in action, watch any YouTube video that comes up in a search for “bollard”. Here’s one example:

Retractable bollards destroy malicious vehicle

Guards, strong doors, locks, fences, and bollards are just a few of the physical security components that let us concentrate on bits flowing through wires and careening through servers without worrying about the servers disappearing, the wires being cut, or the building collapsing.

Oh, yes, if you’re a boater, a bollard is also the post you wrap your mooring line around to tie up to the pier.

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