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Your 2017 Data Centre Security Checklist

Data centers are the center piece of an organization’s operations, storing vast amounts of data, supporting critical systems, and hosting a range of applications.

Hacking a data center used to be a matter of pride for attackers, who were looking for peer admiration. With the rise of ransomware, and attackers’ ongoing collection of data from organizations to drive insights and inform their decision making, there is now big money to be made extorting an organization’s data center—or “brain,” as it’s known.

Cyber-attacks can leave organizations scrambling to pick up the pieces; not only internally, as they try to get operations back online and in working order, but also externally, where reputations have been ruined.

With more organizations relying on data centers to house their ever-growing sensitive information, are we doing enough to protect this integral business tool from the increasing threat of data breaches? Here are some suggestions to help your organization improve its data security:

  • Create a safety net with SIEM

With the growing complexity and size of IT networks, effective monitoring is critical to ensuring organizations are alerted to any inconsistent or irregular changes within their networks. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to data center security, and investing in monitoring tools that integrate security and event management (SIEM) into a simple interface can help alert you to activities and configuration changes. With some organizations unable to resource or finance a full security team, having an effective SIEM in place can act as a safety net—especially for organizations susceptible to simple vulnerabilities, such as late patches or default settings that haven’t been updated.

  • Get a basic security framework

Cyber-attacks are becoming stealthier and more sophisticated. The security landscape is quickly evolving, and while advancements in cybersecurity are also improving, this is being matched just as fast by entrepreneurial attackers. With automated network searches set up to constantly find vulnerabilities in an organization’s network, a cyber-attack on your data center is not an “if,” but a “when.” Although your organization may not have a full-scale security team, it is critical to have a group in-house that can ensure a basic security framework with clear processes and procedures. A common mistake is putting these processes in place and then “setting and forgetting.” As threats continue to evolve, it’s critical that organizations also continue to update and adapt their security procedures and processes to reflect the changing threat landscape.  

  • Stay informed

Knowledge is power, and knowing what potential threats you face is half the battle. Being on top of the latest cyber-attack trends and methods is critical to keeping your data center security up to date. Staying informed doesn’t need to be costly, with free tools available to do the heavy lifting of monitoring and provide real-time updates on trends. One example is Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, an online international dictionary that lists information security vulnerabilities and exposures. Regularly reviewing websites like this will help you understand the potential security threats your organization may face, as well as help inform and prioritize any updates or patches going out.

  • Train up your end-users

You are only as strong as your weakest link, and too often, this is the naive end-user. It would be unrealistic to think that an innocuous-looking phishing email will never slip through the cracks, but training your end-users to identify these threats and act accordingly will help minimize vulnerabilities. Too often overlooked, end-users can be one of your front-line defenses when protecting your data center. By being transparent about security vulnerabilities your organization faces, and taking the time to help end-users understand the role they play in exploiting these vulnerabilities, you can further secure your data.

Your data center is the backbone of your IT infrastructure, and when it comes to protecting one of your most valuable assets, prevention is always better than having to find a cure. Investing and establishing business procedures, staying informed, and training your end-users will help protect your organization’s IT investment, and more importantly, intellectual property and reputation.

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