Securing the Datacenter

Securing Your DC

Securing the Data Centre

Find out how best to secure your data centre against security breaches and how you can secure and track usage of your root and super user accounts...

Intelligent Workload Management

The vision behind Intelligent Workload Management is to integrate Compliance Management, Business Service Management, IT Service Management and the Operating platform with Identity and Security Management into a single model that can be expanded and applied to current and future computing environments

Organisations of all sizes make use of datacenters for every day business. Unlike preceding decades where IT was primarily seen as a way of speeding up internal service delivery, today there has been wholesale adoption of IT as a primary service that not only is invaluable in generating business but also ensuring the survival of the business as a whole.


Increasingly IT has representation at board level due to the environment's increased importance. with more stringent legislative requirements and accountability being introduced, IT is facing pressure from all sphere's of government, business and society to provide highly available, reliable and secure services.


Today securing a datacenter is a complex endeavour. Not only is IT worldwide facing greater numbers of, and more complex, threats from external individuals and criminal syndicates, but there are even greater threats being faced from internal sources within organisations that. Intentional or not these threats can result in organisations having to close their doors. Included in the current IT mix is the move to cloud computing. Where previously IT services where hosted onsite, there is a move towards relocating services to external dedicated hosting sites, where the responsibility Is shared by the company and the service provider for services delivered and security around those services.


In the more traditional sense, securing the datacenter meant a great deal more than having physical access control to the computer room. These days we see the datacenter surrounded by large open spaces providing the physical equivalent of a firewall between a perceived threat and the datacenter.


Depending on the sensitivity of the data and services provided, the datacenter is now a physical fortress, with 24 hour guards, spikes and bollards at entrance and exits, mounted cameras and physical access devices ranging from a simple sign in procedure to RFID cards and increasingly sophisticated methods for access validation and authorisation that include biometric scanners, retina scanners and facial recognition systems. This normally only provides access into the building housing the datacenter.  Once inside, access to various areas is further restricted by similar systems.


Gaining access to systems and services from workstations located internally or externally to the organisation presents further challenges. In essence, the more sensitive the data or system, the more restrictive the access and work environment. In reality, most organisation's go for a more compromised approach when it comes to security, either by choice or in some cases through ignorance or unawareness of the potential issues they face – the “it won't happen to us” syndrome leads to complacency at all levels and can open the organisation up to multiple threats.


A false sense of security accompanies the complacency that exists with the presence of firewalls protecting data and systems from external attacks. Workstations and servers have security systems enabled to counter malware and viruses that have escaped detection at the service provider and that come through the firewall in various guises, from damaging systems and data. But in reality viruses and malware are becoming increasingly more resistant to detection and an outbreak can have a devastating effect on the organisation's ability to function or deliver essential services.


IT solution providers have in recent years developed solutions that combines identity management with security and compliance components. Increasingly new technologies are being deployed that react proactively to threats and are capable of directing alerts to specific IT personnel and managers in real time. Compliance components assist organisations to provide the right information at the right time in the right format during internal and external audits. Attestation services query entitlements and levels of access ensuring that the right access has been assigned to the right people at the right time and is currently valid.


Intelligent workload management provides organisations with additional functionality when managing datacenter systems and data, both internal to the datacenter and in the cloud environment. Deploying Linux in the datacenter provides a more stable host service for virtualised environments. In addition security has been formalised around the privileged user accounts and the management of these accounts that reduces the risks of an unauthorised breach using these types of accounts.


It is important to realise the necessity of having an organisational identity and access management service at the heart of any authentication and authorisation service as the functionality and add-on components available provide a tiered layer of security that assists organisations to proactively and automatically manage their identities and access.

At day's end managing identities and the securing of IT environments while ensuring compliance with regulatory and corporate requirements will go a long way towards providing the necessary security around the datacenter that is sure to help CIOs and CSOs sleep better at night.