Stop Treating Your Data Center Like a Block Tower

Today, data centers are taking on new shapes and sizes and are existing in all-new locations, from traditional on-site operations to subsea locations with special cooling mechanisms. But one simple fact remains: Securing data centers is vital to any new model, especially in the digital era.

To achieve the necessary level of security, operators must have a transparent view of the risks they face, plus the level of risk each “threat” carries. But, due to the critical service data centers supply, operators often assume a higher level of risk when adding anything new into the environment.

The challenge is that when problems arise, operators continue to add and patch rather than innovate. This creates new layers of risk, akin to a wobbly tower of blocks. They may believe they are saving money, but the more you add and replace from other parts of the tower, the more unstable the infrastructure becomes, increasing the risk (and anxiety) of it toppling.

The trick for data center operators is to critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of their current technology and to address these weaknesses by implementing new systems, rather than continuously patching deficiencies.

Now more than ever, data center operators must shift their block tower mentality to assist optimization.

Here are a few areas to prioritize to minimize risks and protect uptime and reliability for millions of businesses around the globe.

Safeguard the Data Center System

Data center operators are no stranger to the wrath of security breaches. Ensuring the network is secure by safeguarding assets from potential threats and alerts programmed to notify the team is essential. However, it’s the unknown or unrealized threat that often poses the biggest challenge for IT managers. Power supplies, heating and cooling systems and even security systems themselves are all potential entry points for both hackers and determined threat actors in pursuit of insecure access points. The examples are easy to find. The 2013 breach of the retailer Target was traced to an outside HVAC provider that was hacked and its Target connections exploited. Cybersecurity controls on electric generators, power distribution units and power supplies are vulnerable. Each entry points a system has is a potential breach.

Devising a streamlined, objective-focused strategy to fight these vulnerabilities is a must. The average number of touchpoints in addressing data center issues is eight, so the process can be time-consuming and rigorous. But without it, the delay in finding a fault can result in business-critical downtime and reputational crisis.

Fortunately, we are now in a world where technology can serve as a crystal ball, enabling protocols and protections to be implemented faster and helping to ease operators’ fears against potential threats.

For example, thanks to artificial intelligence, security systems can develop an automated, efficient response to discover faults, perform triages and schedule maintenance, without human interaction. The utilization of AI is integral in identifying vulnerabilities in software. Third-party services assist in improving cyber hygiene by preventing breaches and consistently monitoring and alerting users to potential threats and inconsistencies. Unity between AI and data center workers facilitates an environment that limits threats and maintains uptime.

Keep Open Lines of Communication

Amidst changing times, communication and teamwork are integral to maintaining business continuity at the highest level. Due to the number of people within teams, maintaining informative and efficient communication between each link is essential in implementing new software.

By ensuring all data center operators understand the innovative technology they are using and by streamlining the process internally and externally, operators can enhance their productivity. When implementing new software, the whole team must be briefed and onboarded to understand the intricacies and functionality of that technology. Otherwise, added risk is induced by allowing security measures to be side-stepped, creating hostile environments.

Innovation is a constant in our business environment and technological advancements are a prerequisite to successful digital transformation and preparing your enterprise for the future. But underpinning this innovation must be a sound strategy to keep the new infrastructure safe. Implementing a successful strategy incorporating contemporary systems into your data center is the only way to ensure a successful transformation from a block tower to a fortress of digital infrastructure.

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Chris Carreiro

Chris Carreiro is chief technology officer of Park Place Technologies.

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