SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Trevor Parsons, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Security: Article

Securing Your In-House Data Center

You need to upgrade your data center for a number of reasons, from reducing risk to increasing service availability

Securing your data comes down to making both physical and virtual changes to your data center. From interior and exterior surveillance systems to software that detects system-level changes across remote and distributed locations, you must make use of any and all available strategies to secure your data from interior and exterior threats.

You need to upgrade your data center for a number of reasons, from reducing risk to increasing service availability. The recent attacks on financial services and online retailers give you another reason to rethink your data security measures. Learn how to implement sound ideas and strategies to protect your data and keep your data center secure against potential threats.

Control Physical Access
Although you have a lot of work to do in order to secure your data on the network side, you still have to control who has access to each system or the network layers. Use key cards to enter rooms, and supply badges for people with certain clearance permissions. Use a guard to escort visitors in the data center, and watch all activity using surveillance cameras. Also, limit your entry points into the building.

Protect the Data Center from the Inside and Out
Keep all data-sensitive servers behind locked cages. Construct a fence around the perimeter of the property with a guard on duty. Use trees, shrubs and other landscaping to hide the data center from the road. Remove the words "data center" off any signs. In addition, only use windows where appropriate. If you have windows in server areas, make sure to use laminated glass to prevent intruders from breaking in and stealing the equipment.

Prohibit Food in Secured Areas
Your data center needs a commons area where people can eat and drink without risking the computers and other sensitive equipment. Keep all drinks away from the servers, and mark all computer doors with "no food or drink" signs.

Secure Your Network
Once you tackle the physical security of your data center, you must focus on securing your network. Have the security administrators set strict rules for both incoming and outgoing traffic. Deploy certain systems, such as mail servers, to subnetworks that attach to virtual local-area networks. Use security monitors or data-leakage prevention monitors to watch traffic and look for bizarre activity.

Scan for Vulnerabilities
Use app-scanning tools to look for application vulnerabilities. Hackers consistently look for vulnerabilities that they can exploit, so you need to scan an app before publishing or using it over the network. In addition, scan any newly written source code for vulnerabilities or buffer overflows.

Protect the Data from a DDoS Attack
Firewalls alone do not always provide effective solutions for distributed denial-of-service attacks, or DDoS. In fact, many hackers trick the firewalls into allowing them inside a trusted client's firewall. Use a reliable application DDoS software to determine legitimate traffic from bogus attacks. Set up an Intrusion Prevention System, or IPS, in front of your data center assets to find malicious worms and prevent attacks.

Conclusion
Use a combination of firewalls, IPS and SSL devices to protect against hackers, and protect your network with security and data-leakage prevention monitors. Set up security around the perimeter of the building to prevent intruders, and install surveillance cameras to watch for internal and exterior sabotage. Restrict permissions to data-sensitive rooms, and make important rooms available only with a key card.

Never underestimate a hacker on the network or an intruder from stealing sensitive information from the data center. Take all precautions from the beginning of the center's construction, or upgrade the center according to the latest security standards. From guarded entryways to Intrusion Prevention Systems, you can secure your data and protect your business.

More Stories By Matt Smith

Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.

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