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How to Protect a Data Center

Employing security and protection measures to make sure your data center remains operational and intact.

Businesses are increasingly relying on data centers to provide the technological infrastructure for their entire operations. While incredibly powerful, data centers are also expensive and, by default, vulnerable. If you want to make sure your data center remains operational and intact, it’s on you to employ security and protection measures.

What are the biggest threats and how do you defend against them?

The Biggest Threats to Your Data Center

These are some of the biggest threats to your data center that you’ll need to consider.

  • Infiltration, theft, and sabotage. If an outsider is able to gain physical access to your data center, they can infiltrate the institution and then potentially steal or sabotage your equipment. Data center equipment is highly expensive, so even a brief security breach could be devastating.
  • Cyberattacks. Data centers also need to be protected against cyberattacks, including malware attacks like ransomware, as well as social engineering threats. Even a single weak point in this landscape could lead to disaster.
  • Natural disasters. Speaking of disasters, a fire, a flood, an earthquake, or a tornado could easily destroy your data center. Hopefully, your data center is already located in an area with minimal natural disaster risk.
  • Insider threats. You’ll also need to consider the possibility of insider threats. Not everyone working for your organization will have your organization’s best intentions in mind.

Hire Private Security Services and Establish Monitoring Protocols

Private security services are essential for keeping your data center secure. With the help of dedicated security guards and potentially external vehicle patrols, you can establish a higher level of security and keep an eye on things at the physical level. Guards can help control who gains access to the data center and identify threats as they develop to mitigate potential damage.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to set up a network of cameras that you can monitor in real-time. If someone gains unauthorized access to your data center, you should be able to notice it, act on it, and then use the footage as evidence if necessary.

Your private security company may have further recommendations for monitoring and guarding the area.

Segment and Create Redundancy

Next, segment your data center and create redundancy. Create physical and virtual barriers so that a single segment going down can’t possibly compromise the entire data center. You may even want a backup data center in a secondary location, so even a total data center loss can’t ruin your business.

Limit Access

Authentication and access controls can be valuable in mitigating the risks of insider and social engineering threats. The idea here is to limit what any individual can access, so if that access is ever compromised by ill intent or nefarious actors, there’s an upper limit to the damage they can do. You may wholeheartedly trust your employees, but what if their credentials end up in the wrong hands?

Prepare for Disasters

Even if you live in an area without major natural disasters to worry about, there are some disasters that still pose a risk:

  • Fire protection. Employ modern fire suppression methods to ensure your valuable electronic systems remain undamaged even if a fire breaks out. You should also have multiple methods of detection throughout your data center.
  • Water protection. Leak detection is also important, especially if you use water-based cooling systems.
  • Pest protection. Don’t underestimate the destructive potential of pests. Reinforce physical barriers and use proactive pest control to minimize this threat.

Hire and Train Employees Carefully

It’s estimated that 56 percent of cyberattacks come from insider threats and insider negligence. Accordingly, it’s in your best interest to hire and train employees for your data center very carefully. Review each candidate thoroughly and do background checks to ensure that only the best, most trustworthy people enter your organization. Then, design better training protocols so all your employees know the top data center threats (and how to prevent or mitigate them).

Use Better Cybersecurity Tools

Better cybersecurity tools can make your defenses against cyberattacks much more robust. Make sure you’re getting automatic alerts if there’s any suspicious activity, and periodically review your capabilities so you can upgrade whenever necessary.

Stay Updated

Finally, make every effort to ensure that all your hardware and software are routinely updated. Failing to update old systems is asking for someone to exploit those vulnerabilities.

Protecting a data center isn’t easy, nor is it cheap. But if you want to defend your data center against the biggest and most destructive threats out there, you’ll need some kind of plan in place. With properly vetted security guards, better cybersecurity tools and infrastructure, and better-screened and better-trained employees, your data center will be far less likely to suffer catastrophic damage from any threat.

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