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The Cloud Goes Underground: Why Physical Data Center Security Matters

View the full article published in Mission Critical magazine:

Extreme weather, seismic events, and even rodents have compromised the physical security of cloud servers and other data center infrastructure. Selecting an underground colocation facility with above industry standards provides the solution to these and other threats.

With cyberattacks such as Petya and WannaCry making big headlines recently, it’s understandable that fortifying cybersecurity is top-of-mind for many CIOs. Last May, WannaCry invaded 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including the U.S., UK, Russia, and China, as it attacked hospitals, banks, and telecommunications companies.

A mere six weeks later, Petya struck — first hitting targets in the Ukraine, including its central bank, main airport, and even the Chernobyl nuclear power plant before quickly spreading and infecting organizations across Europe, North America, and Australia. Its victims included a UK-based global advertising agency, a Danish container ship company, and an American pharmaceutical giant.


Virtual Security Is Only Half the Equation

According to the 2017 BDO Technology Outlook Survey, 74% of technology chief financial officers say cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their business this year, while IDC predicts that at least 50% of IT spending will be cloud-based in 2018. Although cyberattacks remain a significant threat in this environment, it’s important to remember that virtual security is only half of the equation. With the cloud growing ever more critical to businesses, ensuring the physical security of cloud servers is also essential.

Physical security at the colocation or data center facility is critical to effectively safeguarding not only cloud computing, of course, but also mission-critical business applications, data storage, networking, and computing related to Big Data analytics and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and IoT-enabled devices. To be fully secure, companies must ensure that their colocation provider can deliver a high level of physical resilience on-site. As evidenced by the devastation wreaked by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, these physical threats include extreme weather events, but also seismic disturbances, breaches by unauthorized intruders, and given the current geopolitical climate, terrorism.

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