Where can I find lockable storage with cable holes?
May 10, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Where can I buy a lockable storage cabinet for several external hard drives, with a hole for cables to the outside?

My office uses several external hard drives for backups. In a move towards additional physical security (the drives are already encrypted), I am looking for a lockable storage cabinet to house the drives while they are in the office, while allowing access to the cables from the outside. What I need: A metal or wood cabinet/box (think the size of a normal one-drawer filing cabinet) with a lockable door, preferably one shelf inside, and with at least one hole (preferably several) for cabling to the outside. Ventilation openings of some kind would be ideal.

I have spent a long while looking for something that would work, but everything I've found has been complete overkill - like storage cabinets for 20 notebooks, lockable drawers for rack servers, and the like. A wire mesh lockable box (with mesh small enough to secure one of those tiny WD Passport portable drives) would be ideal. Heavy enough to not be easily movable, or with some mechanism to secure it to a desk/wall would be great too. My budget is in the $100-150 range.

I guess I could buy a wooden file locker and just drill holes in it, but it seems like there should be some sort of better solution. I'm looking for thoughts and suggestions. Thanks!
posted by gemmy to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you live near an IKEA, they have these PS storage lockers that are inexpensive and might serve your needs. They're fairly thin sheet steel, and it should be quite simple to just drill the holes you need with a step bit and insert rubber cable grommets.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 9:36 AM on May 10, 2011

How about a steel gym locker. Cable access could easily be drilled or USB/Firewire might be able to be fed through the mesh.

A fairly high security option would be a gun cabinet. Though you'd need to drill a series of holes at the top and bottom of the door for ventilation. These have the advantage of much higher pry resistance than lockers and are designed to be bolted to the floor. You'd have to drill a hole for cable access though.

There are all sorts of commercial storage solutions that would work but they are usually much more than your budget.
posted by Mitheral at 10:13 AM on May 10, 2011

McMaster Carr has ventilated cabinets, but they're quite a bit more expensive and bigger than you want. FWIW.
posted by adamrice at 10:26 AM on May 10, 2011

What sprung to my mind was a ballot box or mail box -- they lock, and have a slot you could feed cables through.

Something like this (but that's smaller than you want) or an acrylic box like this.

It would be easy enough to drill a couple holes through an acrylic box, and cable lock it to something else.
posted by fings at 11:29 AM on May 10, 2011

What popped into my mind is the cabinets businesses use to store flammable materials. They come in all sorts of sizes with locks. They also are of different thickness which would make it easy to dremel through vents/cable entrances.
posted by handbanana at 11:38 AM on May 10, 2011

Seconding adamrice on ventilation. Depending on the type and number of disks in relation to the size of the cabinet/enclosure you will want to make sure that there is sufficient ventilation. Disks can create a surprising amount of heat.

If you find something that is suitable in terms of size and looks but doesn't have ventilation this can be an easy DIY project if you have a Dremel or some other cutting tool. You'd probably want to cut an intake of some sort into the lower parts and an outlet in the upper parts of the enclosure. Fan grills in varied shapes and sizes are available online for cheap to help with optics and safety.
You could even buy a cheap PC case fan plus a small power supply like this and and make the outlet actively vented. In that case you may want to put an airfilter across the intake to avoid filling the enclosure with dust.

If you're willing to make this a DIY project you could probably find some cool items on flea markets or in second hand stores that would have enough room for your disks, look cool and possibly even increase security by looking like a piece of decoration... think a big gutted 50s tube radio or something.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:26 PM on May 10, 2011

The ventilation aspect and your wire mesh comment makes me ask, what about an animal cage?
posted by fings at 1:54 PM on May 10, 2011

I had not considered IKEA, but thanks to SomeTrickPony's comment, I went there to look at the PS cabinet you linked. Which, for the record, has a hole in the bottom interior that is large enough for cables.

In the same section of the store, however, I found a laptop cabinet that was pretty close to what I had imagined originally, with cable/ventilation outlets both at the top and the bottom. Only problem was that it didn't lock. But it was being discontinued, so the price was right.

I ended up buying that and modifying it (adding a cabinet lock, more ventilation holes, etc. pictures here) and it's now perfect - there is even enough room to add a small fan inside should I need to. Total cost: $35 and a little bit of work = perfect!

P.S. - loved the idea of an animal cage. But most of the ones I found that had small enough mesh had a removable plastic bottom for cleaning, and/or didn't have any way to lock.
posted by gemmy at 2:25 PM on May 17, 2011

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