Toan Nguyen, director business development and cloud platform at eshelter, explores the data woes that plague CIOs, the consequences for businesses if they are not addressed, and what UK businesses should be looking for in a data centre partner.
- Physical security breech
Firstly, it might sound obvious but CIOs need to know a high level of physical security is protecting their prized key data. With businesses falling prey more and more to attacks and physical threat, they now have to consider how they can best deal with the threat of physical attacks. A highly professional security guard presence, integrated alarm system and around-the-clock video surveillance is vital here, as well as the latest in ID and video recognition to ensure only accredited personnel gain physical access to the data centre.
It’s not only the physical security threat that’s concerning CIOs. Businesses now carry more sensitive and confidential information than ever before and they are, inevitably, finding that cyber-criminals will use any means possible to try and gain access to this data. Some of the most high-tech data centres are able to limit access to customer data by a range of controls, such as role-based access control, multifactor authentication and ensuring only a limited number of employees have constant access. Standing data encryption can also be used to safeguard against potential hacks and breaches, for example, during times when data is moving over networks between user devices and the data centre.
- No access
CIOs require instant and immediate access to their data. They will not tolerate any delays in being able to access their stored information, and will rapidly move on from any data centre that does not grant them that access in a rapid and convenient manner. Businesses should look for a data centre partner that is not only be able to keep hackers and cyber terrorists out, but also to make sure that they are making it as convenient as possible for CIOs to gain immediate access when required.
- Environmental negligence
CIOs are now more focused than ever on showcasing their company’s commitment to the environment. With that in mind, businesses should look for a data centre partner with a similar eco-friendly commitment to the same environmental goals, which may include emission reduction, ensuring sustainability, and (where possible) using renewable energy. Any affiliation to a data centre that fails to make this a priority, may well put businesses in a position where they are exposed to accusations of contradictory environmental policies.
- Power outage
CIOs must make sure that any data centre they choose has clear and well-defined plans in place for eventualities such as power outages, cooling failures (the heat generated by IT equipment means an interruption of cooling is almost as damaging as an interruption of power), and any technical communications issues. Therefore, business continuity is another consideration that CIOs must bear in mind when thinking about their data centre partner.
Out of these potential problems, the threat of a power outage is the most serious – 2017 saw what could have been a catastrophic power outage, with Silicon Valley itself falling prey after a drone crashed into a power line. In this situation, the lack of a timely response and adequate back up sources of power could have seen companies potentially unable to access their data for an unmanageable and considerable length of time, which for any CIO is simply unacceptable. There have been incidents in the last decade or so when data centres in San Francisco and London have gone down, which in turn has affected large, multi-national companies.
So take heed; businesses have never needed their data kept securely more than now. Not only do companies have more confidential information stored than ever before and new levels of complexity on the horizon with the onset of GDPR, but the ability of skilled cyber-criminals to gain access to this information will only continue to grow.