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What You Need To Know About Data Center Security

What You Need To Know About Data Center Security


If you’re using a data center, then you need to take data center security very seriously. If you’re running your own data center, then your data center security will be entirely in your own hands. If you’re using colocation and/or the public cloud, you will need to understand what points to check with your vendors. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.

The basics of data center security
Data center security extends further than defenses against deliberate cyberattacks. It also includes defenses against deliberate physical attacks and threats that are not malicious. For example, it would include defenses against human error and environmental threats.

In addition to building strong defenses, effective data security has strong policies and procedures for dealing with security breaches. These will generally have to include notification protocols as required by various compliance programs.

Physical security is always the starting point
When considering data center security (or any form of IT security), physical security is always the starting point. No matter what digital security measures you take (even encryption), they can almost certainly be broken if an attacker has enough time. If they can walk away with your hardware, they can take as long as they like.

That’s why it’s essentially to have robust physical security throughout a data center. Physical security cannot stop outside the building. It has to be able to stop, or at least slow down, a malicious actor who gains entrance to the facility. It also has to maximize the chances of a malicious actor being caught before they can make a clean getaway.

This means that data centers should be constantly monitored to ensure that everything is as it should be. Any signs of unusual activity should be immediately investigated according to pre-set protocols.

Discretion is always advisable
The simplest way to avoid being made a target is to avoid drawing the attention of attackers. Ideally, potential attackers should not even know you are there. If they are aware of your presence, they should not consider you a worthwhile target.

This is why data centers are generally placed in very discrete locations. Purpose-built data centers are often situated in remote locations. Where data centers need to be closer to, or in, built-up areas, they should be as inconspicuous as possible.

Digital security needs to be constantly reviewed and refreshed
All security needs to be constantly reviewed and refreshed. Digital security, however, generally needs to be reviewed and refreshed much more often. This reflects the much quicker pace at which digital technology changes.

Right now, there are two developments that look set to grow over the long term. Individually and together, they will have a significant impact on security, particularly data center security. These developments are the internet of things and remote working.

The internet of things creates a security threat because every networked device is a potential access point to that network. The more networked devices there are, the harder it is to keep track of them and hence to secure them. This is already becoming a major security concern, especially for larger companies.

Likewise, the access granted to remote workers can also be exploited for malicious purposes. Companies, therefore, need to ensure that these accesses are issued, managed, and monitored very carefully.

Data center security goes hand-in-hand with reliability
Effective data center security both promotes and depends on reliability. It promotes reliability because security breaches are invariably disruptive. In fact, even security incidents can be highly disruptive. It depends on reliability because a significant proportion of modern security is automated. This means it needs electricity and/or a network connection to function.

As a result, the quality of data center security depends greatly on the quality of the infrastructure. It requires there to be a robust backup system in place. In principle, there should never be either a total power outage or a total network outage (let alone both). In practice, there still needs to be a plan in place for that eventuality.

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