Data centers store invaluable information that could make or break a business, including intellectual property, trade secrets and customer financial data.
Attackers are always searching for new ways to gain access to data centers. They could exploit vulnerabilities in software or network infrastructure or physically threaten them directly, giving attackers entry.
What is Data Center Security?
Data centers store crucial information that is vital to businesses – from trade secrets and customer financial data to personally identifiable information and personally sensitive files, the loss of this vital data can have severe repercussions for their owners.
Data center security entails both physical and virtual measures to keep information secure from hackers, including installing systems to limit unauthorized physical access and ensure all necessary security tools are implemented and enforced effectively.
Hartwig gave as an example implementing appropriate controls to stop attackers from manipulating air conditioning and physical systems to gain entry to a data center, using air conditioning manipulation or physical systems manipulation to gain entry. Furthermore, multifold security methods should be implemented in each room and cabinet while segmenting building management systems and Wi-Fi networks from production ones for easier lateral movement and conducting regular vulnerability assessments.
Attackers gaining access to DCIM systems could manipulate cooling and other systems to cause servers to overheat or sustain damage, according to Sklarsky. Furthermore, UPS systems that offer web dashboards could be turned off remotely in order to disrupt backup processes or upload malicious backup files.
Physical Data Center Security
Data centers must safeguard their hardware, software and network from natural disasters, burglary, theft and terrorism as well as protect data against cyber attacks.
Digital data center security measures typically involve firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection systems and next-generation firewalls, two-factor authentication technology requiring verification with something they know (like password) combined with something they own ( such as smartphone).
To protect data centers from further breaches by hackers once hackers breach their data center perimeters, organizations typically segment building management systems and Wi-Fi networks from servers and production networks, keep detailed logs of activity, test backup and recovery processes on an ongoing basis to make sure they work as intended, use app whitelisting to restrict unauthorized software from running on servers, conduct security awareness training for employees to detect potential cyberattacks, as well as employ auditors who assess cybersecurity strategies and procedures – SOC 1 audits focus specifically on financial applications hosted on servers while SOC 2 audits evaluate integrity and availability issues at data centers.
Physical Access Controls
Data centers require physical security with limited entry points. Protection may be provided using barriers, cameras and employee badge readers to prevent entry by unintended personnel that could cause equipment damage or disrupt data flow.
However, physical security of a data center can still be breached by hackers using social engineering techniques to trick employees into installing malware that infiltrates secure systems or providing them with credentials for access. Once hackers gain entry, they can launch many forms of attacks against the facility – stealing or locking up data and demanding ransom payments in order to regain control.
As shown by Dyn’s hack in 2016, attacks against IT infrastructure and servers can also come from outside a data center, with cyber criminals exploiting poor password hygiene as well as default user names and passwords to gain entry to data centers. For this reason, multi-factor authentication should be implemented, with any management interfaces removed from internet connectivity as necessary.
Secure Building Management Systems
Data centers need to protect their infrastructure against both physical and virtual attacks from attackers attempting to find vulnerabilities in software. One vulnerability associated with UPS systems connected to the internet that have factory default usernames and passwords allows threat actors to access these systems via threat actors and download malware such as wipers that delete files rather than decrypting them once paid ransom is made.
Data center managers must take precautionary steps to safeguard their devices and secure them with multi-factor authentication, installing firewalls that block devices from accessing the internet and secure them with multi-factor authentication. Furthermore, they should survey their infrastructure to remove any management interfaces accessible over the internet – Forescout’s Vendere Labs global cyber intelligence dashboard has revealed that UPS systems are one of the most frequently attacked types of infrastructure using techniques such as brute force attacks, exploit kits or other forms of cyber intrusion.
Data center managers must implement security information and event management (SIEM) tools that offer real-time views of their networks and can react promptly to potential threats. Secure zones must also be created that govern access levels for different roles within an organization, to help ensure customers can freely run software without risking exposure of customer data or the data center to vulnerabilities caused by vulnerable software.
Digital Data Center Security
Data center security refers to a suite of technologies designed to protect network computers, servers and other IT equipment against digital threats posed by hackers entering buildings to gain access to sensitive information as well as restricting physical entry to avoid unapproved physical access of equipment.
Security for data centers starts with layer-upon-layer measures designed to deter, detect and delay unauthorised entry at its perimeter. These include high-resolution video surveillance systems with motion activated lights and fiber optic security for monitoring purposes; biometric scanners or multi factor authentication (MFA), secure credentials or biometric scanners may be employed when verifying employees or contractors entering. Dedicated security methods should also be applied separately in each room or area within a data center to secure entry access for each one.
Offenders often gain entry by exploiting known vulnerabilities in IT systems like firewalls, switches and routers. By regularly patching and updating these systems with security patches and updates, many attacks may be avoided; and segmentation can reduce its spread from system to system.
Data Center IT Security Access Controls
There are various measures in place to protect data centers and their physical infrastructures, from implementing and enforcing access controls to preventing hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in software or hardware. Data center digital security also involves using redundancy so that if one component fails, another component can step in and fill any voids left by its predecessor.
Installing a firewall that filters inbound and outbound traffic and isolates data from the internet is paramount, while an intrusion detection system that actively scans both network servers and servers can help stop hackers in their tracks.
An additional digital security measure involves isolating sensitive and non-sensitive data logically and physically, to lower the risk of ransomware attacks that encrypt files before demanding payments in exchange for decrypting them.
Physically restricting access to buildings and equipment is also vital, along with multifold identification and pass control requirements. Access permissions should also be regularly reviewed as roles change or people move on.
How does data center security work?
Data center security aims to secure both the physical and virtual environments of businesses from cybersecurity threats, using practices, measures, applications and technologies which protect servers storing important company information from breaches.
Encryption, for instance, protects data by making it unreadable to anyone except authorized personnel – thus shielding against cyberattacks and making sure your company has an action plan in place to encrypt their data. Redundancy is another data center security practice which reduces breach risk by making sure backup systems are ready in case the primary system goes down.
Hackers have become more sophisticated over time and now focus on specific devices within organizations rather than targeting the perimeter of an organization, using techniques to get past traditional firewalls and detection tools. To address this threat effectively, data centers must monitor their systems and networks closely, maintain detailed logs of activity, segment building systems from Wi-Fi networks in servers to prevent lateral movement and conduct regular penetration testing to identify weaknesses and threats before initiating attacks against servers.
Why does data center security matter?
Data centers contain sensitive intellectual property and customer data that makes them an attractive target for cyber criminals and nation-states alike. With proper data center security in place, attacks can be prevented or at least minimized significantly if successful hacks occur.
No matter if it is physical or virtual, every data center has specific security needs that vary based on its unique circumstances. But effective plans usually involve several common features, including access control measures like layer access control and encrypted devices; firewalls; other measures designed to thwart hackers; as well as an SOC and rigorous testing against standards such as NIST 800-53(PE);SSAE-18(SOC 1)/ISAE 3402 PCI DSS etc.
While data center security teams typically prioritize protecting networks, servers and other tech infrastructure, they also must consider all areas of potential attack. Many data centers use IoT devices for temperature monitoring or surveillance systems which often contain vulnerabilities which can be exploited – for instance by attackers gaining access to cooling systems which allow manipulation that leads to outages; or if uninterruptible power supply systems provide dashboards accessible over the internet so attackers could remotely turn them off.