4 Ways to Secure Your Data Center Now

Holistic protection for your entire IT infrastructure requires a comprehensive security plan for your network, data and a unified communications solution.

Data Center Security

Beyond the network, though, is your data. This is what attackers seek to steal, exploit or hold for ransom.

To keep your data safe, business strategy secret and constituent information secure, follow these data center security best practices

Protect Inside and Out

Just as you secure the network from outside traffic, you must separate your data center from the rest of your IT environment. An effective way to do this is with a next-generation firewall.

Positioned at the edge of your data center, a next-generation firewall keeps your valuable information separate even if a malicious actor gains access to your network. They might be able to cruise your Internet, but they won’t be able to access the files they desperately seek.

While firewalls are effective in preventing intrusions, they are never 100 percent impenetrable. If your edge defense is breached, you need to have virtualized firewalls placed strategically throughout the data center. Dividing data sets (between HR, sales, R&D, for example) and separating user storage from proprietary company information makes it harder for hackers to access all the information they seek. It also gives you time to respond and stop attacks before they escalate.

Organize and Prioritize

Security solutions and tools serve as the framework to protect your data. But, without an active effort to customize and personalize them to fit the exact needs of your organization, they will not return the benefits or safety that they should.

The first step is to figure out what data you actually have in your data center and identify your high value targets (HVTs). HVTs are data that, if compromised, would cause the most harm to your business. It might be documents containing trade secrets, pending patents, IP addresses of servers or financial information for a pending merger.

Codify what data is considered a HVT and where it is located in the data center. You can then prioritize and set security levels for data according to exactly how high-value a given target is. This will focus resources on protecting what is truly important.

Control Traffic

There are very few people that need access to your entire data center. Controlling data center traffic (or restricting who can access what) further enhances security by preventing attackers from moving laterally once they’ve breached perimeter defenses.

Access control lists serve to segment users or computers into groups with well-defined privileges. At a very granular level, you can limit individuals’ access to specific areas of your data center. For example, HR managers don’t need to see R&D managers’ files, and vice versa.

This helps to eliminate an Edward Snowden-like scenario where one person can gain access to all of your sensitive information from one log-in. So, even if an employee’s credentials are used in an attack, the intruder is limited to what they can see.

Get the Full Picture

All of these best practices for securing your data don’t mean much if you can’t easily identify potential threats. To do that, you need a dashboard tool that presents all the critical aspects of your data center’s security in one location.

The more this tool is automated, the better. The goal is to reduce the number of events that a person needs to manually investigate. Let the technology do the heavily lifting for you!

Without this view, what you can’t see, you can’t act on. Your hands are tied and decisions are made blindly. You don’t know if the threat is critical or minor.

The combination of external and internal barriers, along with approved access lists and a clear view of your security environment will go a long way toward keeping your valuable data protected and secure.

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