Securing a Hybrid IT Environment: Data Center Facilities, IT Infrastructure, and Network Connectivity


Most data centers have at least some level of physical security, including building construction aspects such as perimeter protection, ballistic-rated walls and secure segregation of areas within the facility. Many also are comprised of technology like video surveillance, door monitoring sensors and access control. However, having physical security in place does not ensure a data center is completely secure, especially in the age of digital technology.

It’s not unusual to hear on the news about a data breach or other type of cyberattack. Just as quickly as solutions are developed to combat these issues, cybercriminals devise new ways to steal proprietary information from banks to healthcare systems and other enterprises. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Risks Report ranks both large-scale cyberattacks and major data breaches or fraud among the top five most likely risks in the next decade. Note these statistics from recent PwC surveys:

  • Forty percent of respondents cite the disruption of operations as the biggest potential consequence of a cyberattack, while 39 percent cite the compromise of sensitive data.
  • One-third of African CEOs and nearly a quarter of North American CEOs say they are “not at all” creating transparency in the usage and storage of data.
  • Only 25 percent of consumers say they believe most companies handle sensitive personal data responsibly.
  • Consumers say the biggest threats to consumer privacy protection include hackers and the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things (IoT).

As these statistics imply, locking the front door to your colocation data center doesn’t make a whole lot of difference if you leave the back door wide open. The physical and virtual connections which power your enterprise have never been more vulnerable. Therefore, it’s imperative that enterprises opt for a data center provider that meets the highest levels of security and reliability with the lowest risk. Those colocation providers employ physical and virtual security services and capabilities at a level and cost too high for most enterprises. Plus, they ensure compliance needs are met.

So how exactly can you mitigate security risks to your colocation data centers? Some best practices involve strengthening physical access control to IT infrastructure equipment and network connections, conducting inventory and audit of network circuits and cross connects within the data center and utilizing a "Zero-Trust" Software-Defined Perimeter model for secure access.

If you missed the webinar I hosted with Chris Steffen on April 4, 2018 where we discussed the importance of protecting against both physical and virtual attacks on your mission-critical infrastructure, you can watch the replay at the link below. In it we offer tips on how to secure connections and access within a hybrid environment, on-premises, colocation and public and private cloud environments and discuss the important role data center staff, policies and procedures play in data center security.

This webinar replay is free of charge, but registration is necessary. For a list of our some critical principles for selecting the right data center service provider, view our white papers “Seven Important Considerations When Choosing a Colocation Provider” and “The Secure Data Center: A holistic approach to cyber-resilient colocation.”