Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. Aliens living in Roswell, New Mexico. It’s easy to get sucked into myths like these. If you hear them often enough, you stop questioning whether they make sense. It’s almost as if your critical thinking skills become immunized against them.
While they might not be as exciting as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, myths about data center security persist, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Let’s take a look at a few of those myths and try to separate truth from fiction in order to set up the best data center possible.
Myth #1: We know what we’re doing, and our data is secure.
This is one of the most insidious myths about data security. Sure, your data may be secure today, but there’s always tomorrow. And when you’re talking about hackers intent on accessing your most critical data, tomorrow could come sooner than you might think. As quickly as you work to strengthen the firewall around your data, outsiders are working just as quickly to penetrate that firewall.
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Instead of continuing your belief in the myth, face two truths about data security:
- Your data isn’t secure. And it never will be. Protecting your data is something you have to do every day, just like you have to eat and drink every day. It’s not a once-and-done kind of job.
- Youwill have a breach. That’s inevitable. It’s what happens after that that’s important. Instead of sticking your head in the sand, plan what you’ll do in a worst-case scenario. How will you stop an active breach? How will you keep your business running in the meantime? How will you communicate about the breach with your customers and the general public? Figuring out your answers to this question is as important as attack prevention.
Myth #2: Storage and security are separate concerns.
Your data storage system is undoubtedly backed up—perhaps with multiple redundancies—so that you’ll be able to access your data and keep your business running in the event of a catastrophic systems failure, a natural disaster, etc. But today’s storage systems are a lot smarter than they used to be. The newest technology incorporates security directly into data storage. They’re designed to detect anomalies and identify vulnerabilities, and they won’t make any data transfer that isn’t secure. If you haven’t already, update your data storage so that it handles part of the security for you.
Myth #3: It’s not your job to look for better ways of securing your systems.
The entire IT industry is working furiously to stay ahead of hackers and to develop better, more reliable ways to secure their companies’ systems. Even if you’re not directly involved in research and development, you do have a responsibility to stay on top of things so that you can adopt the most current best practices. Here are a couple of ways you can do that:
- Use all of the resources at your disposal to stay educated about what’s going on in the industry. Analyst perspectives from resources like Gartner and Forrester are a great place to start. Security conferences like those sponsored by RSA, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) are a great place to network with professionals across multiple industries to learn about the problems they’re facing and the solutions they’re developing to solve those problems.
- Make the most of your professional networking resources. Talk to your colleagues, especially those at organizations that are successfully handling the same challenges your organization faces. Find out what has worked for them, what hasn’t, and how they work to predict what’s coming next.
The risks to your organization’s data security are no myth. They’re all too real and, as recent headlines point out, the consequences of a breach can be profound. But some of the things we believe about our roles in data security are myths. It’s time to discard those myths and face the facts: Your responsibility is to protect your organization’s security today and to seek out better ways to do so tomorrow.