Data Centers: Securing the Cloud

truth-about-hackersIn an increasingly digital world where just about all of our personal and business-related information is stored, relayed and transacted online security concerns continue to grow and grow.  We hear about hack after hack and the need for data centers to increase their security.  As more and more location move towards cloud computing, how can they increase not only the security of their infrastructure but their overall security?  There are growing concerns that the public cloud may actually be more secure than the IT facility cloud.  Infoworld explains the concern and what the main contributing factors to the problem are, “What public clouds bring to the table are better security mechanisms and paranoia as a default, given how juicy they are as targets. The cloud providers are much better at systemic security services, such as looking out for attacks using pattern matching technology and even AI systems. This combination means they have very secure systems. It should be no surprise that the hackers move on to easier pickings: enterprise data centers. The on-premises systems that IT manages is typically a mix of technologies from different eras. The aging infrastructure is often less secure — and less securable — than the modern technology used by cloud providers simply because the old, on-premises technology was designed for an earlier era of less-sophisticated threats. The mixture of different technologies in the typical on-premises data center also opens up more gaps for hackers to exploit.”  So, does it just boil down to a narrowed focus paired with hyper-awareness of threats?  Is it just that the cloud can simply focus on its unique set of challenges whereas the traditional facilities have a wide range of weaknesses that pose potential threats and therefore security is spread thin across the board?

Cloud computing has more than proved its value so it is certainly not going anywhere.  Facilities are getting on board with it and more making the switch.  The problem is that they still have a wide range of infrastructure that must also be kept safe and protected, and traditional security approaches for facilities are different in the digital space.  What once worked for security may be so outdated that it is no longer effective and with hackers acutely aware of the gaps, like heat-seeking missiles, will swiftly find and attack those weak spots.  A breach is often the result of an un-tested system so facility managers must get more vigilant about education and testing.  Ignorance is far from bliss in this case.  The threat landscape is constantly changing so IT facilities can better protect themselves through a combination of education, real-time monitoring, protection of servers, and a dynamic multi-level approach to security.  Information must be protected within storage devices inside a facility, throughout information transmission between facility servers and clients, and throughout use within an application.  And, as mentioned above, a healthy dose of paranoia never hurt anyone when it comes to protecting secure information.  Through an extensive effort of limiting exposure on every possible front and a commitment to staying ahead of the hackers as much as possible, data center security can begin to reach the level of protection that customers expect.

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