Data centre security: how safe is your data?

The business benefits of virtualisation and cloud computing are apparent but for many companies the main obstacle is perceived issues in the data centre.

The business benefits of virtualisation and cloud computing are apparent but for many companies the main obstacle is perceived issues in the data centre. For technology resellers, security may not be their primary business and with few experts on board they must rely on partners to provide a high level of trusted security technology and processes. Stolen data can mean a loss of customers, high recovery costs and a damaged reputation. Disc drives used in servers and storage arrays are as vulnerable to theft or loss as a laptop or USB drive. In the data centre, the physical and non-physical requirements for security must be covered.

The physical security of a data centre plays a large role in ensuring data is kept safe. Access to the site is generally restricted to selected people. A secure data centre requires round the clock surveillance with permanent security personnel always present. The most advanced data centres use fingerprint, voice or DNA authentication through biometric access control systems as well as interior and exterior high resolution cameras.

Not only must the site be physically secure, the network must also be safe from attack. Network managers have to ensure that it is not brought down by failures, from the first firewall to the most recent peering partner.

The scope of system security in the data centre can include corporate security policies and practices, IP network information security, anti-virus software and continued monitoring of security incidents. For cloud customers, a cloud based service such as Alert Logic, can be used to detect security breaches, while storing every last byte of information for regulatory compliance requirements. It's Threat Manager system automatically identifies behaviour patterns missed by most stand-alone, traditional network security products.

 "Data centre security is so important. It's up to the data centre owner to ensure that the infrastructure is safe and all security processes are being followed rigorously. This allows our clients to focus on their niche business without having any concerns over the safety of their data," said Amanda Dunn, Business Development Manager EMEA, PEER 1 Hosting.

"Our new data centre, which opens in October, will showcase best in class security technology and will follow key processes such as SAS 70 Certification and other effectiveness tests," continued Amanda. "We've partnered with leading companies who provide us with excellent software to protect data. Our firewall protection is managed by Juniper and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology and we use Verisign and Geotrust to ensure protected consumer data. This allows internet companies to establish trust with online shoppers."

New controls are being deployed to meet threats and compliance requirements in web application security and data security. There are a range of add on security capabilities which many companies are using, such as intrusion detection, alerts to network events and real-time visibility into routing and traffic anomalies.

Many data centre owners are now using smart monitoring features including Relentless Intrusion Detection which quickly alerts if human attackers, network worms or bots are attacking the system. Only by ensuring data centres are well protected and by incorporating best in class features and technologies can resellers be assured that their data is safe from attack. 

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