Despite the advantages that emerging technologies bring organisations, decision-makers need to realise that data remains the key behind business success, says Kaspersky Africa GM, Riaan Badenhorst.
“To adapt to this [data-driven] environment, companies are expanding their data centres,” he says. “Often, the focus turns to capacity and redundancy with only a passing thought given to security. But given the potential disastrous consequences of not protecting sensitive back-end data, this must change.”
Recent statistics show that the US government reported its agencies were exposed to more than 30 000 cybersecurity incidents last year. And while only a handful of these attacks were treated as major incidents, the sheer volume should be cause for concern.
“There are those that argue that the White House is a major target and these figures should not be all that surprising. However, the reality is that every organisation irrespective of size has crosshairs painted on it. It is not a case of if a security breach occurs but rather when,” Badenhorst says.
He adds that data centres are often the focus of an attack with important compromised data being sold off to the largest bidder or just destroyed.
“In the digital world, the data centre sits at the centre of every business process. All organisational data passes through it and it is on the onus of the organisation to ensure all sensitive information is protected. Compliance and regulatory controls also mean that companies face severe financial fines if adequate cybersecurity measures are not taken.”
But security is not a “fire-and-forget” component. Instead, cybersecurity solutions must be able to evolve as the business needs and threat landscape changes. The days are long gone when IT teams were required to be hands-on around security maintenance. Data centre security solutions should not place a burden on staff nor should it be so resource-intensive that it wastes precious data centre computing power.
“If a security solution impacts performance, productivity decreases,” Badenhorst says. “Similarly, if the solution is not able to integrate effectively with the rest of the organisational IT infrastructure, it is likely to cause more harm than good.”
But what is the cost of not having security on the data centre side? According to Kaspersky Lab’s findings, on average, a single cybersecurity incident now costs large businesses $861 000. The financial impact this could have on operations is severe. It is not inconceivable to think that smaller business could face closing their doors in the event of such a loss.
“Data centres are an important part of an organisation’s broader infrastructure and as such, should be considered as equally important to protect as any other technological device a business makes use of. Effectively protecting a data centre requires a security solution that is specifically designed to deliver optimum security while preserving systems performance and harnessing the data centres own capabilities and infrastructure. The overall objective of a business data centre should be the perfect balance of security and of course performance,” says Badenhorst.