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The evolution of data center security requirements

January 30, 2017

The evolution of data center security requirements

Data center security requirements continue to evolve due to the growth of devices connected to our networks, as well as more frequent and sophisticated cyberthreats. Learn more about the factors influencing data center security and what you can do to harden your customers’ data center security practices.

More connected things

The number of connected devices on our networks has grown at a rapid pace. The Gartner group estimates that the number of the Internet of Things will grow at a 32.9% CAGR between 2015 and 2020, resulting in 20.4 billion units by 2020. McKinsey suggests 20–30 billion units, while Ericsson forecasts 28 billion connected devices.

Malware is on the rise

Today, ransomware is dominating the malware market. Due to its success, more campaigns are being launched. According to A-V TEST’s November 2016 security report, its database counted 570 million malware programs. And there’s no sign of letting up as A-V TESTS’s study found five new malware threats per second.

Increased global vulnerabilities

Your customers’ corporate and personal data is continually under attack by other countries, including, but not limited to, China, Iran, Russia and North Korea. The 2016 Homeland Security malware trend report also identified a growing trend in industrial control systems vulnerabilities.

Steps to harden defenses

A set-it-and-forget-it policy may work for automated network management and monitoring, but good data security habits and diligence are the keys to hardening your customers’ data center security defenses. They should start by adopting a continuous-improvement security philosophy, regardless of where their data resides. And by embracing the onion model of security, they create lots of layers to keep their data safe. Finally, conduct a review of the following physical and human threat vectors to identify where your customers can make improvements.

Physical threats

Review your customers’ physical security practices to protect their facilities, equipment and resources from unauthorized access, and people and property from harm. Consider these recommendations:

  • Ensure 24/7 security with video surveillance, security guards, protective barriers and locks
  • Review access control protocols
  • Require visitors to sign in to see who’s in your spaces and create an audit trail
  • Inspect visitor’s tools, like USB sticks, to avoid infection/compromise
  • Restrict data access to a need-to-know basis
  • Conduct background checks on resources who have access to sensitive information and site areas
  • Ensure office windows and computer displays are protected from prying eyes and high-powered binoculars

Human threats

The human factor is likely the biggest element in data center security. Start with security awareness training for your customers’ staffs so they can:

  • Identify malicious links in emails
  • Avoid giving out confidential information online, on the phone or via email
  • Spot tailgating when entering badge-controlled facilities
  • Prevent skimming at point-of-sale kiosks and vending machines
  • Exercise caution when connecting to access points in public spaces