A single password. That’s all it took to take down the Colonial Pipeline in May of 2021, providing proof that even the world’s largest companies and infrastructures aren’t immune from increasing cyber threats. Data centers, which house precious data that hackers can use for their own financial gain, certainly fall on the list of top targets for cyber criminals.
As edge data centers and cloud computing continue to increase in popularity, the threats posed to data centers only continue to increase. Today’s threat landscape for data centers includes distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware, phishing, brute-force attacks and growing exploitation of infrastructure management systems. Aside from being costly, resulting reputational damage for data centers is a driver for operators to create an end-to-end cybersecurity strategy that will prevent data breaches and keep centers compliant with industry regulations.
Aside from physical security like drones, robotics, keyed entries to limit unfettered server room access and other general security measures around the building, making sure your data center is secure from hackers and threats that never intend to set foot inside your building is top of mind for operators, and poses the biggest threat to your data center’s security. In this blog, we’ll give you the five tips we live by to ensure our clients’ data remains 100% secure.
- Know your threats. The adage of “bringing a knife to a gunfight” is an apt saying here to convey the importance of knowing what you’re up against and having the proper tools to take charge. Take modern data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools, which monitor and manage all of a data center’s IT-related equipment, for instance. Next gen DCIM management involves using IoT devices to manage DCIM systems because they’re generally cheaper to install and they allowed for great flexibility in infrastructure management during the pandemic. However, they also create more entryways for hackers to infiltrate physical infrastructure to manipulate heating and cooling systems and backup files to cause undue damage to data center systems. Understanding where potential threats lie in your operational technology and knowing how to address them is step number one in any good data center cybersecurity strategy.
Threats are always evolving and cybercriminals are always getting more creative in their approaches, so it’s important for data center IT staff to keep pace. Threat intelligence like the reports available from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) can make this task easier.
- Mind your infrastructure. More than being potentially difficult to manage, keeping legacy infrastructure may mean you’re using systems designed without the threat of cyberattacks in mind. That means greater vulnerability, bigger risk and more areas of weakness in the outdated infrastructure when compared to today’s cutting edge systems. To combat this, data centers should always upgrade when they’re able, but at the very least assess the risk level of legacy systems and build counter measures into any security strategy.
- Secure Your Endpoints. In addition to major infrastructure in your data centers, think of the security measures needed for other physical systems and devices, including, but not limited to flash drives, Bluetooth devices, smartphones, tablets and laptops. Key considerations in this arena include installing antivirus software on all devices and conducting regular scans to uncover potential threats; using pop-up blockers to prevent unwanted programs from running on devices, and using firewalls to create a barrier from criminals.
- Lock down sensitive data from within. Unfortunately, even people with the best intentions can fall victim to cybersecurity threats by something as simple as clicking on a phishing email, so it’s important proper precautions are taken when granting access in the first place to any sensitive information. IT managers should know at all times what data they’re managing, who has access to it and where it is shared to verify that only those that truly need access have it and to understand the scope of a breach should it happen. Simple to implement best practices like multi-factor authentication can add an extra layer of security to prevent mishaps. Building proper best practices and protocols around data and having appropriate data usage policies in place – as well as consequences for offenders – will keep your data safer over time.
- Examine Third-Party Practices. Finally, understand what precautions any third-party vendors you work with take against cybersecurity. External hacks that target third-party services and tools like your DNS provider or VPN don’t just affect that vendor, they affect your customers. Because employees of these third-party companies may be able to access your systems, that creates yet another endpoint hackers can target to gain entry to your systems.
These outside vendors can create vulnerabilities in your threat detection landscape, so understanding how they work and which of their employees has access to your systems makes it easier to protect data.
Novva is committed to providing robust 24/7 security 365 days a year. Clients trust us with their most valuable assets and we deliver through the use of robot surveillance, facial and palm recognition, gate authorization and more. Learn more.