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3 Reasons Why Your Data Center Needs Logical Security

By: Blair Felter on January 7, 2019

Data centers are regularly entrusted with the security of sensitive data and IT assets. Companies depend upon these facilities to provide thorough protections from data breaches or other forms of unauthorized access. In addition to providing robust physical security and implementing thorough cybersecurity protocols, data centers must also work with their customers to put strong logical security in place.

Logical security refers to the specific controls put in place to govern or restrict access to computer systems and data storage. While physical security forms an exterior defensive shell around a data center’s infrastructure, logical security is more deeply incorporated into the system to prevent intrusion and unauthorized access. Any security measure that grants access to specific people with approved credentials while restricting others can be categorized as logical security.

Some forms of logical security incorporate physical security measures. Biometric identification such as retina scans or fingerprint analysis use unique physiological identifiers to regulate access to critical IT and data assets for colocation customers. While these systems are incorporated into physical barriers (doors, lockers, etc), they are considered forms of logical security because they can’t be circumvented by simply obtaining a key or getting a name added to a list. Someone must authorize a person and then take the steps to add their biometric information. Biometric locks are a particularly valuable form of security for server cabinets, ensuring that only a handful of people have access to the hardware behind a company’s IT infrastructure.

Logical security can take many forms in the system’s software as well. Some examples of software-based logical security could include:

  • Passwords: A simple, but effective, method for restricting access to critical data and systems, passwords are particularly important for any system that can’t be physically cordoned off from potential users. Anyone trying to access a system needs to enter a unique (and hopefully frequently changed and randomly generated) password first. Passwords help protect against both innocuous unauthorized use and malicious hackers seeking to steal data or disrupt services.
  • User Profiles/Permissions: Different types of user accounts can be set up to provide different levels of access to a system. This is especially vital for systems that permit many people to have access, such as a company’s private cloud or multi-cloud server. User profiles can be tracked, creating a record of who accessed specific files/programs and when. By maintaining permission control over user profiles, IT departments can restrict access, disable features, and otherwise exert control over the network environment to enhance data center security.
  • Segmentation: Oversight is a critical aspect of logical security. All changes to a network environment or system should be reviewed and approved by at least one additional person. This prevents a single user from making changes that could, knowingly or inadvertently, compromise security.

3 Reasons Why Your Data Center Needs Logical Security

1: Protection Against Human Error

For all the concern about cyberattacks and natural disasters, the truth of the matter is that the majority of server downtime is caused by human error. Logical security not only reduces the possibility of human error by limiting access, but it also makes it easier to track errors and diagnose problems when they do occur. By tracking what kind of errors occurred and documenting who made them, organizations can shore up vulnerabilities and educate users to help them avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

2: Threat of Cyberattacks

Cybercriminals can penetrate a network in a variety of ways, from brute force hacking attempts to elaborate phishing strategies. Logical security provides an additional layer of defense against these intrusions. While cybersecurity software and firewalls offer extensive protections, they won’t account for much if weak passwords or generous access protocols leave the proverbial door unlocked for even moderately skilled hackers. While logical security may not offer protections against all forms of cyberattack (such as DDoS attacks), it can greatly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and allow cybersecurity experts to track down intrusions more effectively when they do occur.

3: Better Device Management

Cloud computing has made it possible for people to access their workplace’s public cloud or private cloud remotely with almost any device capable of getting online. This has created problems for many organizations, as any one of these devices, from laptops to smartphones, could represent a security threat. Malicious code embedded in a laptop’s operating system, for instance, could easily infect an otherwise secure network the moment that device is connected. Logical security access protocols can be put in place to manage employee devices, allowing companies to lock out lost devices and restrict the use of personal devices that may not be up to the same security standards of devices issued by the internal IT department.

Logical security measures form an important component of any data center’s operations. For the best facilities, it represents another critical link in the security chain that offers end-to-end protection for their customers. While no security measures are completely invulnerable, data centers can combine logical security with their physical and cybersecurity strategies to deliver the best possible protection for a company’s IT assets, data, and network infrastructure.

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