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Raising the shield: Implementing a unified architecture for data centre security

Raising the shield: Implementing a unified architecture for data centre security

CybersecurityData CentresFeaturesOperations & Systems

In the ever-evolving landscape of hyperscale data centres, Colt Data Centre Services navigates the cybersecurity frontier with Armor’s cutting-edge solutions. Guy Gibson, IT Infrastructure Manager at Colt DCS, sheds light on the transformative journey, revealing how a unified approach propels them toward unmatched efficiency, customer-centricity and seamless global expansion.

Guy Gibson, IT Infrastructure Manager at Colt DCS

As a global leader providing hyperscale and large enterprise data centre solutions, a robust, scalable and efficient cybersecurity solution is of critical importance to Colt Data Centre Services (Colt DCS).

When looking for a partner to bolster its threat detection and response capabilities, Colt DCS turned to Armor to provide a uniform cybersecurity platform across all its multinational sites; implementing Armor’s XDR + SOC solution as well as its VAPT programme to continually identify potential flaws.

Operating 16 state-of-the-art data centres in seven cities across Europe and Asia Pacific, Colt DCS has been designing, building and operating hyperscale and large enterprise data centres for more than 25 years. Like all hyperscale data centre solution providers, Colt DCS’ business model is dependent on customer confidence.

The vast amounts of sensitive and valuable information stored, processed and transmitted by Colt DCS for some of the world’s largest organisations make it a potentially attractive target for cyberattacks. Therefore, effecting a robust and highly assured cybersecurity platform is essential to its operations and ongoing success.

Challenge

As part of its commitment to delivering a sustainable hyperscale future for its clients, Colt DCS undertook a thorough evaluation of its cybersecurity posture.

The business found itself reliant on a multitude of disparate solutions, making threat monitoring and response less efficient. This fragmentation also meant Colt DCS’ IT teams did not have a single view of the threat landscape and associated vulnerabilities, instead having to sift through data from various vendors, which reduced response efficiency.

Guy Gibson, IT Infrastructure Manager at Colt DCS, said: “What we realised is that we were often ‘reactive’ to threats. We had access to a huge amount of data, but no single view. It felt disjointed and that our current approach lacked structure and control.”

Greater vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) was also an area Colt DCS identified for improvement, requiring continuous monitoring and testing of the environment in order to expose potential faults and security weaknesses.

“At the heart of what we were trying to achieve was more efficient threat detection and response; seeking a single source of truth solution that would provide us with greater global threat intelligence, control, testing and guidance whilst also facilitating large scale growth when required,” added Gibson.

“We needed to work with someone who really understood the threat detection landscape and who could provide a solution that offered zero downtime to facilitate business continuity. The solution would also have to be compliant to data storage regulations across every country we are located in and, crucially, allow us to retain ownership and control of all data. In essence we needed security delivered in an unobtrusive way.”

The solution

Colt DCS initiated a search for a cybersecurity partner who could provide an effective solution across its multinational sites. Armor immediately impressed with its delivery capabilities, technical expertise and the comprehensive solution it proposed to simplify the detection and remediation of cybersecurity-based threats.

Armor project managed the implementation of Microsoft Sentinel, Azure’s cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) system, as part of its Extended Threat Detection and Response (XDR) function to correlate logs and telemetry data from all sources, providing a complete view for threat identification.

A 24/7 Security Operation Centre (SOC) added an additional layer of cybersecurity expertise to Colt DCS’ defence, enabling swift threat response and guiding remediation efforts effectively. An ongoing VAPT programme was also deployed to identify any potential security flaws and enhance Colt DCS’ overall security position.

As a second stage to this project, Colt DCS is ingesting a new telemetry as part of its XDR solution – Microsoft’s Defender for IoT. This will enhance its security further by protecting and monitoring internet-connected devices and endpoints within the data centre infrastructure to prevent cyberthreats and vulnerabilities.

“The implementation of the solutions was well-managed and required minimal input from our internal teams,” added Gibson. “Not only was it straightforward, but the benefits were felt almost instantly. The solution from Armor has allowed us to have a better oversight of our global operations and assess the cyber landscape more efficiently.

Shortly after the implementation of the Armor solution, Colt DCS expanded capacity across 10 of its sites. “Having implemented the XDR solution ahead of this expansion undeniably meant that this process was much swifter. It was far less concerning to all involved than it would’ve been using our previous approach.

“Overall, the entire solution has helped us to achieve every single objective we set out to achieve on this journey; making the assessment of the cyber landscape a lot simpler for our team, threat detection and response quicker and more efficient, whilst continually facilitating our expansion.”

Guy Gibson, IT Infrastructure Manager at Colt DCS, provides insights into how Colt DCS’ cyber stance improved and the benefits of a homogenous solution.

How does the Armor solution enhance the concept of Colt DCS?

At Colt Data Centre Services (Colt DCS) our vision is to be the most customer-centric data centre operator. The solution provided by Armor allows us to reassure our customers we take cybersecurity seriously and we deliver on our promises.

As a provider of sustainable and hyperscale data centres, this cutting-edge solution also allows us the freedom to rapidly scale capacity and still maintain a robust cyber stance.

Why is achieving regulatory compliance a priority for data centres and how will Armor assist in doing such?

Compliance serves as a roadmap for data centres. By following a clear comprehensive set of regulatory best practices and rules, we can ensure we operate within the legal framework and keep sensitive data safe. Demonstrating compliance is essential in helping us to build trust among customers, it reinforces that we are a robust and secure data centre operator and gives us a competitive edge.

As a cybersecurity partner, Armor has provided its expertise and an excellent service to ensure we achieve compliance. The solution affords the detection and remediation of potential cyberthreats while also enabling scaling. This allows us to reassure and deliver to our customers at a fast pace.

Why was it essential to have a homogenous solution when it comes to threat detection and response?

It is pivotal for us to have a holistic view of the landscape when it comes to threat detection and to be able to efficiently review all potential threats and understand their potential impact. The solution delivered by Armor ensures we are well-informed and can be guided on the nature of the potential threat and the appropriate response or remediation required. Having this type of comprehensive solution, where all key factors are presented in a unified view and the data is well-structured and organised, enhances our efficiency significantly – a crucial aspect for our operations.

What technical challenges were identified in the implementation of a ’single view’ solution and how were they overcome?

The technical challenges were minimal from a Colt DCS perspective. This was in part due to Armor’s impressive experience and the guidance they provided in implementing a cloud-native solution. Our cloud-based architecture also had the capability and necessary infrastructure ready in place to support the delivery of this type of solution.

What benefits will your customers receive from a proactive workforce and how will this boost morale amongst colleagues?

In a word, trust. Our vision to be the most customer-centric data centre provider is at the core of everything we do. Our customers need to be confident in our capabilities and understand that their confidential data, and the data of their own customers, is in the safest of hands. By having a proactive workforce, we can strengthen our own resilience against cyberthreats, demonstrating our capabilities to customers to secure their trust.

Prior to the implementation of Armor’s cybersecurity solution, our security teams operated quite reactively as the threat detection systems in place were less structured and inefficient. The new solution has completely changed this, enabling colleagues to focus on more proactive and strategic activities. This shift has not only enhanced our overall security posture but has also significantly boosted team morale, instilling a sense of confidence and accomplishment as they actively work towards preventing threats.

Looking ahead, how will Armor’s solutions help Colt DCS expand its operations and global expansion?

Armor’s professionalism and expertise has enabled the delivery of a scalable solution that reinforces sustained growth. This supports Colt DCS’ mission of providing sustainable hyperscale data centres.

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