Ten Tips to Secure the Data Center

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 07-29-2015 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Ten Tips to Secure the Data Center
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    Ten Tips to Secure the Data Center

    Securing the data center can be a daunting task, and these 10 tips can help you keep your data center safe and secure.
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    Identify and Quickly Address System Failures
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    Identify and Quickly Address System Failures

    System failures create vulnerabilities, so It's important to prevent or quickly remedy failures. Management systems can monitor servers, service processors such as iLO and DRAC, and associated equipment and issue alerts when failure is imminent.
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    Imbed Security Throughout the Data Center
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    Imbed Security Throughout the Data Center

    When considering any purchase, make sure to consider security. Everything in the data center should have secure features built into them.
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    Know Where Your Gates Are
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    Know Where Your Gates Are

    If you can't control each access point, then group them, so that you limit access and the impact of a breach.
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    KVM Switches Must Have Security Built In
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    KVM Switches Must Have Security Built In

    In the previous NIAP Protection Profile, non-secure KVMs (for keyboard, video and mouse) could be reinforced to become secure and pass the evaluation. That workaround is no longer acceptable. Build in KVM security.
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    Consider How Your Devices Communicate
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    Consider How Your Devices Communicate

    Communication can either create or control vulnerabilities. It’s important to install servers and equipment more secure than those limited by the outdated IPMI specification.
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    Understand What You Have
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    Understand What You Have

    Track assets manually or, preferably, through Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software, which is more reliable and provides more data than manual processes.
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    Find and Close Your Open Ports
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    Find and Close Your Open Ports

    Unknown open ports in your data center can put your security at risk. You could manually find open ports, but it's much more efficient and effective to run reports using a management tool. Close unnecessary ports.
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    Centrally Manage Access Points
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    Centrally Manage Access Points

    In the wake of the Target breach, in which the vendor had access to login credentials, which hackers used to access the corporate network and the payment systems, it's best to offer fine-grained user authentication and access controls in your security protocols.
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    Separate Corporate Network From Secure Network
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    Separate Corporate Network From Secure Network

    Network isolation can flag or prevent unwanted activity and attacks because all access is locked. Isolate the network and limit threats without compromising necessary access or performance. Use out-of-band management networks with full, real-time access and no back door.
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    Understand Supply Change Risk Management
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    Understand Supply Change Risk Management

    Research vendors before you buy products. Vendors often require access to install and maintain their equipment. Ask direct questions about their security protocols. Are they following security best practices to ensure that access doesn't result in vulnerabilities beyond your control?
 

Securing a data center can be challenging for a variety of reasons. You can't secure what you don't see, for example, and almost everything has remote access capabilities and IP addresses to interface with the Web. Too often, security takes a backseat, which leaves hundreds of embedded and low-level management systems vulnerable. Another problem: communication can either create or control vulnerabilities. How to secure the Internet of things is a burning question today. Machines communicating with each other may be more efficient, but they can be even less secure than humans communicating online. "We live in a hyper-connected world where IT Infrastructure visibility and access are critical to business success," said Jay Wirts, general manager, Avocent Core Products at Emerson Network Power, a provider of critical infrastructure technologies and life cycle services for information and communications technology systems. "The flip side is increased vulnerabilities that those access points create. Businesses must think about IT security more holistically, leveraging more secure technologies while adhering to evolving best practices."

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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