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Hyperconverged data center security

3 best practices

June 24, 2019

In an effort to reduce costs, simplify maintenance and improve scalability, more and more companies are moving to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). It’s one of the hottest trends in data centers today. According to IDC, the HCI market increased from $597 million in Q3 2016 to approximately $1 billion in Q3 2018. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
 
Unlike traditional infrastructure deployments, HCI has all data center components—servers, storage systems and networking equipment—tightly integrated in a single appliance. While this all-in-one approach has definite advantages, it does present some security challenges in that many existing security tools weren’t designed with HCI in mind. While traditional infrastructures rely on firewalls for protection, for example, they’re less than ideal for HCI.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your data center customers have the proper safeguards in place.

  • Consolidate security controls and have a centralized monitoring solution like Cisco Tetration to oversee all of the traffic interaction in the entire data center: Everything in HCI is about integration and agility, and security should be no exception. Instead of a traditional agent-per-endpoint approach, consolidating security controls into a single console allows for seamless deployment and policy enforcement in one fell swoop—not to mention complete visibility across the entire infrastructure.

  • Protect individual components: While it may seem contradictory to move to a unified data center platform and then have to secure each component individually, there’s a good reason for it. Even though HCI nodes integrate all functions into a single unit, they still create multiple footprints hackers can attack. That’s why it’s important not only to secure the entire physical unit but also the individual components within it.

  • Don’t neglect physical security and other internal threats: Insider threats still present a major problem to companies and can result in millions of dollars worth of damage and loss of data. It goes without saying that all data center appliances should be properly secured and monitored at all times and that employee access privileges be kept to a minimum. It’s best to provide individuals with just enough access to do their jobs. Create different user groups (administrators, super users, read only, storage administrators, etc.), and limit their access and ability to do damage. Conventional security policies that apply to conventional IT infrastructure should apply to HCI data centers as well, including physical security, access controls, multifactor authentication and a robust backup solution.
HCI is designed for speed and agility in today’s data-intensive environments. The last thing your customers want is to be slowed down by security glitches. Make sure they arm their HCI data centers with the right defenses. To learn more, contact our HCI expert, Nick Vermiglio.