Security is a hot topic amongst those in the data center industry, especially as cloud technology has become a prominent player. Many cloud providers are doing a great job of drafting policies to make sure their cloud is as secure as possible, but the sheer cloud growth is sure to leave some vulnerabilities. More and more organizations are also coming up with their own ideal cloud model in order to maximize the security of their business. However, the biggest opportunities for vulnerabilities seem to be in the private data center market, according to Data Center Knowledge. Smaller cloud providers are especially at risk of compromising integrity either because they don’t have the finance, experience or experienced team necessary to ensure that security is maintained 24/7.
A recent study from Ponemon highlighted trends behind recent data breaches, especially after seeing that 2014 was dubbed the year of the hacks. There are many security points within the study, but the three that really stand out for data centers include:
Data breaches are costing companies more. This is a new trend, since the actual cost of a data breach has been in decline until recently. However, the actual cost of stolen data and the cost to organizations to battle and recover from data breaches spiked upward last year. In 2015, the average cost of a data breach went up to $5.9 million as opposed to the previous $5.4 million average. That’s $201 for every record breached, compared to the previous $188. Higher costs mean such breaches might be powerful enough to shut down some organizations for good.
Your odds of being victimized hover at 19 percent. Most people know that there was an abundance of data breaches last year, but they also feel that they fall into the “it’s not going to happen to me” category. The Ponemon study revealed that the likelihood of any given company experiencing a data breach by 2017—and impacting at least 10,000 records—is 19 percent. Obviously that percentage is much higher if you consider breaches below that 10,000 benchmark. That’s nearing a one in four chance of having data hacked, which isn’t very comforting to clients.
Criminal/malicious acts lead to the highest cost. This might not be surprising, and it reiterates what other studies have found, but if an attack is criminal or malicious in nature, it tends to cost the company more. The average cost per record in these instances is $246. Other types of situations, like genuine mistakes from employees or computer glitches, “only” cost $160-$171 per record.
Clearly, cloud security could be doing better. It’s easy to overlook some tried and true measures or to fall behind the latest best practices. For starters, take a look at the areas that have proven most challenging for businesses:
Bad hypervisor/VM positioning. Both of these elements need to be facing “inward.” However, there are still some data centers where they’re facing outward. These elements might be interacting with a number of resources, and do you know the quality of network policies that dictates who can access them? Don’t assume that something as “safe” as host level access is impenetrable, and make sure to lock down this element tightly.
No port opening checks. This can be a challenge for larger data centers. If there’s an abundance of ports, how can you keep track? Are the ports getting shut down properly? A misconfiguration with a port or network can leave you open to an attack, so make sure ports are checked regularly—even if it’s a hassle.
Proper monitoring. Is your monitoring comprehensive, externally and internally? The quicker you catch an issue, the easier it is to address. Use the latest security tools and make sure you lock down databases, applications and portals correctly. Too often, it’s a simple oversight that leads to an opening for an attack. Many data breaches are easily preventable.
When working with the cloud, there’s a lot going on. It’s a complex machine. Testing and monitoring are your best defense.