Data is currently the lifeblood of any business, and data centers play a pivotal role in storing and managing vast amounts of critical digital assets.
Businesses use these physical data centers to store information and critical applications. And, since they rely increasingly on cloud services and interconnected systems, data center security becomes a must.
This article explores the subject of data center security, from meanings to best practices and insights into safeguarding your company’s valuable digital assets.
What Is a Data Center?
In digital-centric businesses, data centers become essential to the organization’s infrastructure. They are facilities that act as engine rooms for businesses, protecting data, applications, code, and business services.
Data centers are private spaces that host routers, switches, firewalls, app delivery controllers, and many servers. They protect these physical objects and their stored data from external threats and malware. Therefore, they must use vigorous security systems.
With a well-protected data center like those provided by Data Center Service Express, you are getting:
- Storage infrastructure – Systems that protect valuable data
- Network infrastructure – Servers (physical and virtual), storage, software services and connectivity for end users
- Computing resources – Storage, memory, servers, processing, and connectivity to local devices
- Power infrastructure – Power sources and supplies, backup generators, cooling and ventilation, fire-fighting measures and external network linking
How to Build a Secure Data Center
Data centers are prime targets for attacks from malicious entities, physical or virtual.
To ensure no one can intrude, you must ensure your data center’s physical safety first. That includes the following:
- Location – ensure your chosen location is safe from the elements
- Control the entry points – find a location with only two entry points, if possible (front entrance for staff and customers and back entrance for a loading dock or emergency exit)
- Monitor entries and exits – keep complete lists of every person who goes in and out and who has access and privileges over data servers
- Consider physical barriers – that means fences, concrete walls, and landscaping that help keep unauthorized individuals out
- Use security tech – checkpoints throughout the facility, multi-factor authentication, locks, biometric authentication, card access, smart lockers, surveillance monitoring, etc.
- Conduct regular audits – daily walk-throughs, regulation compliance audits, physical checks to ensure data center security
Digital data security measures include:
- Intrusion detection systems to keep threats at bay
- Building management systems that oversee fire alarms, access, ventilation, and climate control
- Network-level encryption to protect your network and oversee traffic during data transfers
- Virtual firewall to safeguard customers from other network activities like packet injections
- Encrypted communications
Enforce Regulatory Standards and Compliance
Data centers house massive volumes of sensitive information critical to the running of enterprises. Protecting sensitive data against theft, breaches, or unauthorized access is a duty and, in many cases, a legal requirement.
Several pieces of legislation and standards require data center operators to follow tight security practices:
- GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulation safeguards the European Union’s privacy and data protection rights. Any data center that stores and/or processes personal info about EU citizens is bound to comply with GDPR.
- HIPAA – comprises the security and privacy of healthcare information in the US.
- CCPA – California Consumer Privacy Act safeguards Californian residents’ privacy rights and protection standards.
- FERPA – the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act covers US student records.
- SOX – implies financial transparency and accountability for public domains.
- ISO 27001 – companies and data centers that comply with this certification prove their commitment toward information security (risk assessment, encryption, access controls, etc.)
Best Practices for Data Center Security
Improve data center security by following industry-standard best practices. Start with the examples below.
Regular Employee Training
Your first line of defense against data security threats is thorough employee training. Organize regular training classes where you teach employees about current security threats, from social engineering to phishing. Make them vigilant to possible security risks.
Train employees on the significance of access control methods. Ensure they understand the need for good credential management and the dangers of tailgating or piggybacking through access security points.
Establish explicit protocols for reporting security events or suspicious activity. Employees should also be informed of how to de-escalate issues.
Clear Access Controls
Ensure that only the people who need access to your databases are authorized. Use biometric authentication methods for essential access points, such as fingerprint or retinal scans. Biometrics improve identity verification and access management.
Use secure card access systems, including multi-factor authentication, whenever possible. Regularly audit and update access privileges and revoke access for leaving personnel.
Conduct Frequent Audits
Use audits to find flaws and opportunities for improvement. Conduct periodic physical security audits to assess the efficacy of your data center security measures, ranging from surveillance to access controls.
Vulnerability assessments help detect gaps in security infrastructure. Address any flaws as soon as possible to ensure continuous data center safety.
Create comprehensive incident response strategies to handle a variety of security crises, such as digital and physical breaches and natural catastrophes. Conduct drills and simulations of potential crises regularly to ensure employees are prepared to respond to attacks.
Add Firewall Protection
Firewalls are essential for any data center. They act as a powerful gatekeeper, monitoring and controlling all incoming and outgoing network traffic. They ensure that only legitimate traffic is allowed in while keeping unauthorized access and cyber threats at bay.
You can configure firewalls to filter traffic based on previously predefined rules to prevent unauthorized access and protect data servers against cyber attacks.
Employ Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning
It pays to prepare for unforeseen events like natural disasters and cyberattacks. Work with your security team to implement a robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan and install contingencies.
Ensure that even in the event of a catastrophic event, your data center can recover quickly and manage essential operations.
Also, consider setting up a database backup in a secondary location. That way, if your primary data center gets corrupted or becomes incapacitated for various reasons, your employees still have access to essential data.
Protecting your digital assets is crucial for your business, and data center security is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted strategy.
Look for a provider with secure and effective tools and infrastructure to satisfy your requirements. Ensure that their security practices are up to date and take control of your data’s integrity, confidentiality, and security by choosing a reliable data center environment.