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Colocation Security Audits: Ensuring Compliance

Colocation Security Audits: Ensuring Compliance


Security audits are an essential part of IT management in any environment. They are highly relevant to data centers as these often house sensitive and/or regulated data. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to what you need to know about colocation security audits.

Importance of audits

Here are five of the main reasons why it’s important to have regular security audits in colocation facilities.

Ensure compliance

This is probably the most obvious reason and it is a perfectly valid one. Many compliance programs mandate regular audits. Even those that do not require businesses to maintain the relevant standards. The only way to confirm for sure that standards are being maintained is to audit them regularly.

Identify vulnerabilities

Regular security audits help identify vulnerabilities in physical and network infrastructure. It therefore allows colocation vendors the opportunity to address and mitigate potential security risks and threats. This benefit is particularly relevant to emerging threats. By definition, these are less likely to have been recognized when the security measures were initially implemented.

Enhance transparency

Modern compliance is often not just about doing the right thing but about being able to show that you did the right thing. Conducting regular security audits shows a commitment to implementing and maintaining robust security.

To make the most of these audits, businesses should document them thoroughly and clearly. Essentially businesses should make sure that their records can be easily understood by somebody with no prior knowledge of the company at that time. This could include current employees at some point in the future when they have forgotten the context of the audit.

They should also ensure that the documents contain all the information anybody might reasonably wish to know about the audit. This should include the thought process behind any decisions that were taken. If a compliance breach does occur, regulators might be more inclined to be lenient to a business that made a bad decision for a good reason.

Build trust

In the modern world of colocation, one of the most compelling reasons for undertaking regular security audits is, quite simply, to build and maintain trust. Although clients manage their own equipment, they are still heavily dependent on the colocation provider’s security measures. It’s therefore important that they feel they can rely on them, particularly if they handle regulated data.

On that point, it’s worth highlighting that increasing numbers of businesses are likely to come into the scope of formal compliance measures. Compliance used to be driven very much by industry standards. Now, however, they are increasingly being driven by local authorities (such as US state governments).

These locally-driven standards typically apply to any business that handles data relating to the residents of a particular area regardless of the industry in which they operate. They can therefore affect businesses that have little to no formal regulation.

Optimize resource allocation

This is not, strictly speaking, directly related to security (or just to security). It is, however, an important consideration for all modern businesses, including colocation providers. Security audits are a good opportunity to assess not just what is being done but how it is being done. They can therefore be ways to identify efficiencies that can improve both operations and profits.

Compliance reporting in colocation facilities

Here are five ways that compliance reporting enhances transparency in security measures.

Demonstrates adherence to standards: Per the previous section, this is arguably the most obvious reason for undertaking compliance reporting. It is also a perfectly valid one. Most compliance programs have mandated documentation requirements. Even if they don’t, it still makes sense to keep full and current documentation of your security measures.

Documentation of security protocols: Documenting security protocols ensures that everyone is on the same page about them. This is the first step to implementing them effectively. Robust documentation can also be very helpful for incident management. In particular, it can set out procedures for dealing with different situations.

Provides a performance benchmark: Regular compliance reporting is a way to track changes and improvements made in response to audit findings. This facilitates the process of continuous improvement that is essential to modern security.

Clear communication to stakeholders: Compliance reporting provides a solid foundation for clear communication with stakeholders. These may be internal (managers) or external (potential customers or investors). They can also serve as a basis for answering ad hoc inquiries such as from the media.

Helps with financial management: Compliance reporting identifies areas where changes need to be made and the urgency with which these changes need to be made. It therefore serves as the starting point for budgeting for these changes.

 

Related Resources:

Best Practices of Colocation Data Center Security

Data Center Security: Addressing Challenges In The Digital Age

What You Need To Know About Data Center Security

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