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Data centre security: Is your data safe?

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When choosing where to store data, many businesses believe it’s safer to house it in plain sight, on a server in the next room. However, this might not be the safest option.

In fact, it’s actually subject to great risk of a security breach or physical damage, which means you could potentially lose important data and pay out thousands of pounds.

Data centre security can offer a cheaper and easier option for storing your data, keeping it in a secure environment that can withstand power cuts. Data centres are usually manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it very difficult for hackers to break into.

Robert Thorogood, group director at Hurley Palmer Flatt said: “A data centre’s main function is to house IT equipment necessary for the processing, storage and communication of data. To this end, the IT systems have either multiple servers (or mainframes for legacy data centres) that do the processing, storage arrays with hard disks, solid state drives or tape (older) and network switches that direct and deliver the data within or to the outside world via fibre links.”

Mr Thorogood says in order for data centre security to work, it needs two essential elements:

  • Power which must be reliable and constant
  • Cooling to take away the heat, and also be reliable and constant

But how do you know the information stored in a data centre is safe and secure?

Jas Sura, infrastructure specialist at Altodigital said: “It depends on what mechanisms are in place to protect the data centre and the data stored within it. A data centre may not provide any more protection for your data than using a laptop, a home USB drive or the public cloud.”

“With a well thought-out protection strategy and a documented security policy to inform the use of carefully chosen tools including: network firewalls, application firewalls, user authentication, encryption and backup, with appropriate configuration (visibility of configuration and traffic flows are key to knowing whether you have appropriate configuration) your data may be regarded as safe.”

“Some data centres use smart monitoring systems to provide alerts if their systems are about to be comprised, but this should not be taken as given. Even when migrating to the cloud or with SaaS some top software vendors recommend using additional security measures to secure your own data.”

“How safe is safe? This all depends on your (management’s) attitude to risk and your budget. So, it all comes back to the security policy, and knowing the impact to your business, or to you personally if your data were to be lost or get into the wrong hands.”

Data centre security such as cloud computing works best when security measures such as encryption are set in place. Ian Massingham, Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) chief evangelist for Europe, Middle East and Africa told the BBC that customers can control their own encryption keys and can also set rules regarding you can and can’t access their data.

Although less than 10% of the world’s data is estimated to be stored in the cloud, its increased connectivity means you can connect to businesses around the world. Providing businesses with the utmost specialist support, saving them time and potentially lots of money, data centre security offers many benefits, but only if the best monitoring and protection tools are used concurrently.




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Tags: Security Transformation, Technology