Your data centre is a castle so build a solid defence

Your data centre is a castle so build a solid defence

“Don’t leave the drawbridge down to unguarded data,” says Camellia Chan, CEO and Co-founder of Flexxon. Software security solutions for data centres can only handle a certain capacity before falling short, with human-centric methods exacerbating the issue. Chan emphasises the aspects data centre operators need to know about a holistic approach to cybersecurity and how to minimise data loss prevention with tangibility.

An enormous amount of critical data is stored and managed in data centres and by 2025, cloud storage is due to reach a mind-boggling 200 zettabytes. That’s a lot of opportunity for cybercriminals. A robust cybersecurity posture is therefore crucial not only for protecting this data but ensuring rapid recovery in the unfortunate event of an attack.

However, data centres still often rely on reactive, static and human-centric methods for cybersecurity. Measures such as firewalls, VPNs and encryption for network security are easily manipulated, can be exploited by Zero Day attacks and weakened by human error.

To protect business operations and continuity, what’s needed is a truly holistic approach to cybersecurity, incorporating both hardware and software defences to provide security across the entire attack life cycle.

What is a holistic approach?

As technology becomes more advanced, unfortunately so do the tactics used by cybercriminals to hack systems or extort data and demand payment. In the past two years alone, the cybersecurity threat posed by AI has exploded and it is expected to increase the global ransomware threat exponentially. Therefore, as technology evolves, cybersecurity strategies must as well.

A resilient cybersecurity posture is crucial for data centres. But for too long solutions have focused on simply preventing attacks, rather than ensuring the whole attack life cycle is secured. Traditional software defences that are reactive and human-dependent, such as antivirus, will inevitably fail when tasked with protecting against the evolving threat landscape.

Cybersecurity strategies today must offer the whole package, providing a holistic approach from incident detection to response and recovery. Such a strategy considers all possibilities that can result in cybercriminals gaining access to data and networks, with initiatives including cybersecurity across both software and hardware, employee education and internal and external intelligence sharing.

Software defences don’t deliver expected protection

Data centres are a goldmine for cybercriminals and when combined with the costs incurred due to downtime following an attack, the average cost of a data breach is £4.45 million. So, it’s clear cybersecurity strategies need to be iron-clad to protect data and ensure business continuity.

However, software-based cybersecurity solutions traditionally deployed in data centres can have significant vulnerabilities. Not only do they often rely on human intervention, for example, for configuration and updating, but in a landscape that continues to change rapidly, software solutions can have insufficient response capabilities to attacks they aren’t set up to deal with.

Additionally, software-based tools are at risk of being weaponised by cybercriminals. And, if software solutions are integrated into the system they are trying to protect like a double agent, this can have devasting consequences. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in software to gain unauthorised access to systems and wreak havoc.

Hardware-based solutions fortify the foundations of software defences

Data centres must now also invest in independent, hardware-based security to ensure an additional layer of protection, combined with backup and recovery processes that can minimise fallout from data loss.

Unlike software tools that monitor specific layers of the OSI model, or only in the external environment, there are now hardware solutions that can canvas all seven layers independently – removing the risk of manipulation. This is achieved through monitoring memory and data transfer communications, instead of fishing for potential behavioural anomalies in the vast ocean of external network layers.

Unlike some software-based cybersecurity tools, hardware-based solutions are isolated from the systems they protect, meaning they are less susceptible to certain attacks and can’t be weaponised by hackers.

Such hardware-based solutions are also further optimised with AI. AI-enabled solutions run autonomously and proactively without the need for human intervention, reducing the opportunity for human error. At the same time, AI’s intuitive and self-learning nature enables the accurate detection of Zero Day threats. It’s a no-brainer that data centre operators should invest in it to protect employees, clients and data.

Your data centre is your castle

A true cybersecurity posture requires hardware and software solutions to be working in tandem.

Think of it like a castle. Hardware solutions are similar to a castle’s stone walls, drawbridges and reinforced gates. These physical defences surround the key assets – the monarch and the people – providing robust and immediate protection against attacks. While software solutions are like a castle’s guards, standing watch. Like software-based cybersecurity, guards only react to threats when they see them – in some instances, completely missing well-hidden attackers.

However, no castle would rely solely on its guards or solely on its walls. Together, they create a comprehensive defence system. Similarly, in cybersecurity, combining hardware and software solutions creates a multi-layered defence that ensures the strongest possible protection against cyberthreats.

Instantly detect threats and recover any data loss

Reactive solutions no longer cut it when it comes to detecting threats and recovering lost data. Backups for recovery purposes require constant upkeep, and in some instances can also be corrupted or lost. With the average cost of downtime following a data breach amounting to millions, data centre operators must step up their game. This means making use of solutions that monitor memory and data transfer communications to not only provide Zero Day threat detection but also ensure fast response and recovery.

Through the use of advanced AI algorithms that monitor data communications at the hardware level, real-time data replication can be achieved. This provides an essential layer of protection in the event of a data breach, enabling rapid system reversion and data recovery for Business Continuity.  

The cyber landscape is rapidly changing, and cybercriminals are becoming smarter with their attacks. Data centres are crucial to the smooth running of critical workflows and hold an enormous amount of data that hackers have their eyes on. To fully protect against all cyberthreats, data centres must adopt a holistic approach that encompasses both software- and hardware-based cybersecurity solutions. If they don’t, they’re leaving the drawbridge down to unguarded data.

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