Four Considerations for Data Center Security | Corning

Don't Let Your Data Drop

Maximizing their resiliency is vital for keeping the digital spaces we all enjoy up and running. If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time watching streaming services or using social media to check up on loved ones—all of those rely on massive data centers. Downtime for the data centers behind these applications isn’t only disruptive, it’s also growing increasingly costly: a recent survey of IT and data center managers found that many outages cost between $100,000 and $1 million, and that one in six outages exceeded $1 million in losses.

Keeping data centers online requires a multifaceted, proactive security plan that encompasses various potential points of failure, from redundancy planning to physical and cybersecurity measures, to prevention of human error. Here’s how a modern fiber optic infrastructure can help data centers not only run their best today and into the future, but also facilitate a comprehensive security and uptime plan.

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5G ready network solutionsPhysical Security
Most individuals tend to prioritize cybersecurity when considering safety; however, the physical aspect of data centers and their unique vulnerabilities often gets overlooked. Fiber optic networks serve as a solid foundation for implementing various physical security measures to prevent unauthorized access. To ensure comprehensive facility protection, it is crucial to position security cameras strategically, particularly around the perimeter. In the case of expansive hyperscale centers, connecting these cameras to the network requires extensive cable runs, making fiber optics the most practical solution. Implementing a range of access systems at different entrances is also advisable. Establishing connectivity over long distances enables security checkpoints equipped with badge readers and biometric access systems.

Beyond its ability to reach far-flung areas of a campus, fiber is also the most secure method for connecting perimeter security systems. Unlike copper cabling, fiber can be enhanced with Optical Intrusion Detection Equipment to monitor any disturbances in pathways up to 80 km in length. This can provide an extra layer of visibility into any efforts to tamper with cabling—whether by a bad actor or just an overzealous groundhog.  

5G ready network solutionsCyber Security
Staying one step ahead of cyberattacks is a never-ending struggle; for data centers, where the stakes for breaches are astronomical, it’s essential to implement as many safeguards as possible to thwart hackers before they can inflict damage.

Like physical security, keeping a data center’s network safe requires maximizing visibility. This requires a sophisticated network monitoring system to track performance and raise alerts about possible threats. One method involves deploying equipment at the network switch. However, this approach can lead to cost overruns in the eventuality of network expansion— for example, an upgrade from 1 Gb to 10 Gb would require a new transceiver.

Instead, the more economical, future-ready method is to deploy a traffic access point (TAP) module in line with the fiber. TAP modules work by splitting the signal on the network link to replicate the traffic without interrupting its transmission. The simultaneous copy of the signal is then sent to a monitoring center that can perform diagnostics and evaluate for irregular traffic that could indicate an intrusion.

Modern TAP modules carry numerous advantages over switch-level monitoring equipment. They’re passive devices that require no power, and can be integrated into existing structured cabling, eliminating the need for extra rack space. They’re also capable of handling up to 400 Gb of traffic, making them highly adaptable to network expansion. Check out our TAP Module FAQ to get up to speed!

Network Redundancy
Network redundancy can be likened to a spare tire that is always ready to support you in case of a flat. It serves as a multi-layered defense system at potential failure points, ensuring that your network remains operational even if a failure occurs. The level of redundancy directly correlates with the likelihood of network downtime.

Another important consideration in this planning is ensuring that the cabling and equipment used are both backward and forward compatible allowing for easy adjustments and adaptation as needed. Corning's continuous advancements to the EDGE™ and EDGE8® families ensure that each new iteration remains compatible with previous generations, enabling data centers to effortlessly evolve with evolving demands.

Corning's EDGE and EDGE8 platforms simplify MTP®-based structured cabling to ensure networks have an optimized migration path as networks grow from 10 to 100G to 400G and beyond. Not sure if EDGE or EDGE8 is right for your data center? Click here for our quick and easy guide: Infinite possibilities with EDGE solutions!     

5G ready network solutionsPreventing Human Error
Human error is an innate possibility, however in data centers, it’s incredibly costly. According to some sources, mistakes among operators factor into some  66%-80% of all data center outages. Today, as the tech industry continues to trudge forth through a shortage of skilled labor, the toll of missteps is only getting worse. Mistakes can happen in many ways, but the most common errors involve physical missteps—a technician accidentally bumps a connector—and mental mistakes—the wrong patch cord is unplugged. Both of these incidents can cause widespread disruptions, and are very easily avoidable through the use of modern solutions.

Corning’s EDGE™ Lockable Uniboot Jumpers can prevent the connection from being accidentally dislodged. Additionally, our latest data center innovation, the EDGE Distribution System incorporates color coding to give technicians added assurance that they’re unplugging the right cable. Corning also provides solutions and services to help data centers build out their network properly from beginning to end; these resources are particularly valuable for organizations that are experiencing skilled labor shortages. We also offer preconnectorized cabling solutions designed to take complexity out of the hands of installers and speed the process of scaling-up to meet the increasing data processing demand. Corning’s systems engineers can also recommend cabling and network designs for customers during the planning phase, as well as technical and maintenance support down the line.

When it comes to fortifying data centers against security threats and unplanned downtime, its believed the best foundations are laid with fiber. By engineering facilities with the right fiber infrastructure, data centers will have the bandwidth and expandability to handle future growth with ease, along with unparalleled visibility into performance and threats.

Corning’s systems engineers can also recommend cabling and network designs for customers during the planning phase, as well as technical and maintenance support down the line.    

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