- Unexpected disruptions to data center operations can cause business interruptions, financial losses, and customer dissatisfaction. These disruptions typically fall into three categories: physical issues, technical challenges, and human errors.
- Establish multiple access layers to control individual permissions. A well-secured data center is essential for safeguarding critical information’s integrity, confidentiality, and availability in today’s digital era.
Our digital world surges forward, fuelled by remote work and technological advancements. Data centers, the humming heart of this digital wave, are experiencing explosive growth. While this expansion unlocks immense potential for businesses, it also casts a long shadow of heightened risk.
Entrusting our ever-valuable data to these centralized hubs inevitably raises the stakes. A single breach or critical failure could bring entire operations to a halt, exposing sensitive data and sending shockwaves through economies. The potential consequences are not merely financial; they could shatter trust and impede progress.
We stand at a crossroads. Instead of simply building more data centers, let’s draw inspiration from movements like Patagonia and focus on building resilience in our digital ecosystems.
Investing in threat and preventive measures and comprehensive disaster recovery plans is no longer optional. It’s imperative to proactively manage these risks before they manage us.
Data center protection goes beyond data security; it safeguards the very core of our interconnected existence. To propel the digital surge forward smoothly, we need to identify and address the causes that threaten data centers.
What Poses the Greatest Danger to Your Data Center?
The unforeseen interruption of data center operations can disrupt business functions, incur financial losses, and displease customers. Causes of disruption can be categorized in three form: Physical causes, technical problems, and human errors.
Below are few of the major causes of disruption that businesses need to look out for:
Suboptimal air quality isn’t solely a concern for human well-being; it can also pose challenges to your server systems and computers. Airborne particulate matter has the potential to induce copper erosion, diminish performance, and trigger various technical issues.
Humidity is a crucial factor in server rooms. Excessively dry air can lead to static buildup, while excessive humidity may cause condensation, posing potential damage similar to a leak. Ideally, maintain a relative humidity level of 40-60% in a data center.
Water leaks are a big problem for computer servers. It might be surprising, but leaks and high humidity are quite common. You can’t see these problems just by looking.
In one case, Infogrid found that 24% of a client’s server rooms had these issues.
It’s important to keep a server room cool, ideally below 25⁰C / 77⁰F. If it gets too hot, there’s a risk of fire, or systems might just shut down. That’s why a significant portion, up to 40%, of a data center’s energy is used for cooling. Data center fire protection is gaining much attention.
Besides environmental issues, it’s crucial to keep your data centers physically secure. This involves tracking who enters and exits server rooms and addressing any security weaknesses on-site. Door monitoring systems automate these tasks, reducing the need for manual checks.
Mistakes happen, like overloading a circuit or hitting the emergency power-off switch by accident, and they can cause disruptions. No matter the reason for downtime, the risks are big. If one thing goes wrong, it can seriously mess up operations and lead to losses in revenue.
Merely discussing the problem won’t lead to a solution; it’s imperative to delve into uncovering effective approaches to protect data centers.
How Do We Secure and Protect the Data Center?
Securing access to your data center is a top priority. Set up multiple layers of protection to manage the level of access granted to each individual.
Explore the following ways:
Supervise, assess, and limit both on-site and remote entry
- Ensure physical data center security with constant vigilance: Use CCTV and on-site security and have 24/7 network technicians monitoring real-time network activity to address virtual security issues swiftly.
- Implement layered security measures for data center access: Implement layered access to counter internal and external threats in your data center. This approach ensures that only individuals with the appropriate security clearance can access specific areas, such as the perimeter, facility, server room, or cabinet.
When implementing data center protection, it is crucial to manage physical access through the following measures:
- Video content analytics (VCA)
- Smart cards
- Facial recognition
- biometric scans
- Safeguard the security of remote access: To maintain secure remote employee access, contemplate the adoption of cloud security solutions such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Extended Detection and Response (XDR), or zero trust networking technologies.
Implement comprehensive physical security measures for data centers
- Optimal location selection: Choose a location with a stable historical record, avoiding areas prone to earthquakes, floods, fires, storms, or geopolitical risks.
- Redundancy establishment: Implement alternative power sources (solar, wind, or diesel) and UPS battery packs to ensure reliable power flow, especially in cases where the local utility provider may falter. Consider redundant water and network connectivity options based on location needs.
- Raised floor implementation: Utilize a raised floor design for better accessibility to wiring and reduced server room heat.
- Access and entry point lockdown: Enhance physical defenses and surveillance by restricting access to a single entry point. Reinforce walls and other potential entry points against forced entry and unauthorized access.
- Disaster preparedness: While executing data center protection, plan for potential natural disasters or malicious acts:
Fire: Install aspirating smoke detection and double-interlock-zoned, dry-pipe sprinkler systems.
Water: Employ water leakage detector panels near hardware using water cooling solutions.
Pests: Deploy a rodent-repellent system to safeguard servers and wiring from damage.
Ensure data and network security
- Adopt a zero trust posture: Embrace the zero trust model, treating all network traffic as potentially risky. Defined security policies reduce the chance of successful breaches, and in case of a breach, the model uses a smarter mechanism to limit network access.
- Utilize appropriate tools and services: Protect your data center with tools like intrusion detection, firewalls, DDoS protection, and IP address monitoring to defend against external attacks.
- Regularly review security policies: Govern access based on roles within the data center. Periodically review and adjust access policies as roles change or employees leave, ensuring access is granted only to necessary individuals.
Enhance employee security awareness
To counter phishing and business email compromise attacks, provide continuous and engaging security awareness training. While executing data center protection, it becomes important to do the following things:
- Customized training: Tailor security awareness training and phishing simulations to each person’s language, role, and experience.
- Real-time engagement: Deliver short, engaging information bites in employees’ workflow.
- Analytical insights: Collect analytics for program adjustment, improvement, and evaluation of security awareness evolution over time at various levels – individual, team, department, and company.
This approach ensures ongoing, effective employee training and identifies areas where additional resources may be needed.
Perform network segmentation for enhanced security
Divide your network into segments to contain potential data breaches, preventing them from impacting the entire network. This proactive measure buys time for securing the remaining network and provides enhanced access control through network segmentation.
Protecting a data center is a multifaceted task that demands a holistic approach. By implementing a comprehensive security strategy encompassing physical, network, and employee awareness measures, organizations can fortify their data centers against various threats.
From robust physical defenses to meticulous access controls and continuous employee training, each layer contributes to a resilient defense system. Constant adaptation to emerging technologies and evolving threat landscapes is imperative.
Ultimately, a well-protected data center is not just a technological necessity but a fundamental asset in preserving the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of critical information in the digital age.
Expand your knowledge with a variety of insightful whitepapers on security available in our resource center.