InfoSec specialists and others responsible for data integrity and security have a myriad of security measures. From universal guidelines provided by the Service Organization Control (SOC) to proprietary systems, countless personnel hours and literally billions of dollars are invested in security.
Whether data centers deploy Tier I (basic data center security) or Tier IV (redundancy on all resources providing fault tolerance against downtime) policies, data is only as safe as the system’s weakest link. In many cases, that link is network monitoring equipment with non-removable storage.
The evolving network
Data security has always been a priority. It is becoming an even bigger challenge, however, with the continued integration of cloud environments. Its impact will only be greater in the future. In fact, Gartner estimates that half of all workloads will move to the cloud by 2025, and only one-third of applications will remain on-premises beyond that.
What this means is that data center functions are no longer centralized in a physical location. They are a collection of resources utilizing cloud, data center, colocation, and edge deployment locations to meet changing and complex business use cases. As enterprise infrastructure moves toward cloud distributed application delivery, data centers are evolving, which impacts security.
Today’s security professionals view the entire infrastructure as a hybrid operating model with virtual boundaries. They have to deploy new dynamic security measures and scrutinize the SLAs they have with third parties.
Data center security
For all these reasons and more, InfoSec specialists and other information security analysts have quite a long to-do list. They monitor networks for security breaches and investigate when they happen. Also under their purview are firewalls and data encryption programs. Establishing protocols and restrictions regarding data access necessary to keep information safe is also their responsibility.
It goes beyond that and extends to the physical structures, as well. For example, data centers have always been in a secure location. Every point of access into the data center needs to be safeguarded and have restrictions.
Such a comprehensive approach is necessary to protect applications and data from an increasing number of sophisticated threats and global attacks. Organizations of all sizes, regardless of industry, are under constant threat of attack.
Closing all security holes
All that time, money, and effort is for naught if vital information walks out the door unknowingly. That can literally be the case with network monitoring instruments that do not have removable storage.
Network monitoring equipment serves an important role in network operation. As the networks evolve into hybrid models, its value increases. Monitoring equipment checks network uptime to ensure the network meets connectivity and throughput requirements, including bandwidth, latency, and errors. For all these reasons,
Monitoring tools can also create time and cost efficiencies for colocation data centers. They can ensure secure and accurate data transfer at each site, a vital capability for government agencies and large corporations — particularly in the insurance, health care, and financial sectors.
To optimize network performance at such a level, the monitoring tools need to be calibrated according to a data center's established calibration practices or per the monitoring equipment manufacturers' recommended calibration schedule. Calibration minimizes measurement uncertainty and helps maintain overall equipment performance. Regular calibration and/or service ensures the equipment performs according to specification for proper network monitoring. The result is the solutions will more accurately determine if a network breach occurs or when KPIs are not being met, perhaps due to nefarious activities.
Cost of “scrubbing”
Balancing calibration and service of network monitoring tools presents a cost or confidence challenge for data security professionals. One choice for data center managers is a costly benchtop instrument-based solution with hard drives. Security teams must have a policy in place to ensure data is not present when the instrument once it is sent out. The approach is typically to transfer sensitive data from the instrument and then scrub the instrument before it is shipped for calibration or service. It is a timely and costly procedure.
Compact solutions are available that provide a more efficient approach than the benchtop scenario. Sensitive data is stored on an SD card that can be easily removed from the solution and replaced with a blank SD card. It takes minutes to make the transfer and secure the data compared to hours of scrubbing a benchtop instrument.
The more compact monitoring tools with easily removable SD cards are also appealing for smaller data centers. Typically, managers of facilities of this size lease and/or borrow transport test equipment to maintain network performance. Because of the removable storage option, they can be used in these environments with little worry that the data is being breached or compromised.
Evolving networks are becoming more reliant on cloud environments, thereby creating additional security processes. The preservation of data, however, requires an approach that accounts for each aspect of the network, including monitoring equipment. By focusing on network monitoring tools that have removable storage, InfoSec specialists and other security analysts can strengthen what will otherwise be a weak link.