Data centers and providers employ some of the most sophisticated cybersecurity measures available to protect systems, hardware, and customer information. However, that does not mean they do not face security challenges or are impenetrable. Facebook notoriously went down for hours in October 2021, costing nearly $100 million in revenue. The cause was a data maintenance error and a physical security problem.
Data breaches and attacks can still wreak havoc without the right support, even after putting some of the best cybersecurity solutions on the market in place. What other top security challenges do data centers need to be concerned about in 2022?
Cybersecurity is a major concern, particularly when it comes to digital access and who can interact with a server and its data. However, physical security can also present some huge challenges. Anyone with the right access anyone can use or harm servers, even when in a locked facility.
Data centers need to be protected from intruders and potential disasters such as water leaks, fires and cooling system failures. All security doors should be locked appropriately, with access only for vetted contacts. Even then, their exit and entry should always be logged.
Outages, ransomware and corrupted data can affect digital content and information. The introduction of remote working has made data loss more likely, on top of all other security challenges.
A recent study found that many of 2021’s more prominent malware attacks are highly likely to encrypt information, similar to what ransomware does. It reveals that while protecting data is a priority, there needs to be a contingency for when information is compromised or corrupted.
Data center security is also about protecting access to sensitive and necessary information or regaining access when it is lost. Customers entrust companies to secure their content or provide a viable backup solution when needed.
Servers and electronics require power. However, many data centers rely on the traditional power grid, which can be dicey depending on availability and location. All data centers should have a backup power supply, whether that means a strong generator or a renewable energy source.
Backup power doesn’t necessarily have to run the entire facility or network for an extended period, just long enough to safely shut down the system until the main grid is back online.
Installing an uninterrupted power supply built specifically for servers and data centers is a commendable start. However, maintaining those solutions is necessary to be better prepared.
Frequent service interruptions cost money, and the longer those outages go on, the more cash is lost. That’s why it’s vital to get servers back up and running as soon as possible, which means perfecting the boot process.
Many cybersecurity solutions include real-time monitoring for data channels, but the same needs to be afforded to physical security. There should be cameras in the server room and facility, with security teams monitoring the feeds at all times. That allows the security team to act quickly if an unauthorized party is identified. In addition, all employees inside the server room will also be under surveillance.
Companies that do not have or allow cameras within the server room should be sure to point them at every ingress or egress instead. The security team can then monitor who’s coming and going and check what equipment is being brought into and out of rooms.
Phishing attacks, also referred to as social engineering hacks, often happen due to employee negligence. Criminals might convince them to share login credentials on a mirrored site — made to look like an official one — or they may use a host of tricks to gain access without technology. Befriending a worker with restricted access is a great example, where the actor would then steal their badge or pass to gain entry.
The fix for this problem is properly educating employees and taking a persistent approach to cybersecurity training. Releasing regular updates about ongoing hacks or attacks in an internal newsletter or employee handbook can help.
Moreover, personnel should know how to spot phishing sites and emails and avoid external communications as much as possible. Employees should be taught to ban data transfers, not use personal devices for work data, enact proper download discernment to avoid malicious code, use strong passwords, and keep systems or devices up to date.
Cybersecurity is only a zero-sum game if companies do not invest the time and resources in protecting their servers and facilities. Team members must remain vigilant, continuing to uphold strong data center security measures at all times. That won’t eliminate all challenges, and some may even seem insurmountable, but it’s a necessary part of running and maintaining data solutions.
These security challenges may pose a threat going into 2022 and beyond, but they’re not the only ones that exist. New challenges presented by innovative technologies like edge computing, cloud diversification and even VR will soon become more prevalent. Protecting these channels will become as important as safeguarding traditional avenues.
For now, it’s important to focus on the top security challenges that data centers will face throughout 2022. Companies that are prepared will be better off than most in the field.
Emily Newton is a technology journalist with over five years in the industry. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine exploring the latest innovations