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Bob Wall of Edge360 explains how you can secure your IT investments with a VMS built on IT standards.

Each day, data centres face emerging physical and cybersecurity challenges and must focus on modernising their security and safety efforts to reduce their comprehensive risks. However, ever-evolving threats, such as online extremism, workplace violence, cyber-threats and brand protection require more robust protocols than older physical security systems can provide.

Data centers typically have hundreds or thousands of physical security devices spread over a large campus and perimeter, which can be challenging to manage and keep up to date. On top of that, many IT security systems and physical security software, like video management platforms quickly become outdated and are traditionally difficult to keep updated and secure.

But, this antiquated process must change: As more businesses shift to remote work and the storage of critical data via the cloud and within these data centers expands, the need for solid security which always is up to date and secure in these facilities is growing and protecting them becomes more critical. 

It is also important to note that maintaining and updating physical security software often takes a back seat and is exempted from security policies other critical IT systems must follow; the protection of the physical security system of the facility is just as important. 

Making a list, checking it twice

Data centre security typically follow a layered security model for protecting assets with concentric layered protection zones and segmentation. The outer layer represents perimeter security; the next is the hardening of the facility itself and preventing unauthorized access. Next, security leaders should focus on securing the racks where the data and servers are protected and having a platform to visualise the state of these layers can be critical when responding to alarms. Finally, there must be an additional layer of security around the controls for those server rooms to prevent any bad actors from accessing them.

At each level, there needs to be a standard amount of physical and cybersecurity protection, which should be common practice across data centres, whether public, private, co-located, or on-site. The same policies and methodologies should be applied no matter the size, type of data centre, or location. Still, they are often not, creating a facility that lacks the proper security measures for protecting critical data.

Modern technologies to the rescue

Data centres should consider deploying the same types of counter measures that you would in any mission-critical facility, such as multi-factor authentication, anomaly detection, identity management, access control and video surveillance. If the same protocols in establishing cybersecurity measures were used across physical security, these facilities would be better prepared to protect physical assets from threats.

It is also crucial for data centres to closely evaluate their video management platforms to ensure they can scale as risks and needs evolve. As security professionals, we know how vital video is to monitor facilities and keep people safe – and, as organisations have had to reduce staff, cut costs and adhere to changing regulations, it becomes more important. These facts have directly affected the growing demand for advanced video management technologies. 

A modern video management system needs to take advantage of the already existing investments made in the digital assets such as architectural 3D models and building wiring plans. Just like other IT systems, a modern VMS leverage this critical information and provide advanced situational awareness to operators during an emergency at the press of a button. Seeing exactly where an alarm has been raised and knowing where security devices are located during time critical situations is invaluable. 

The days of accepting security risks of antiquated VMS platforms are gone. Today’s VMS solutions are built on modern IT infrastructure and containerisation. Today’s cybersecurity environment requires deployments to be continuously updated to protect against new security threats constantly identified. Modern VMS platforms provide the functionality to keep thousands of servers and clients updated with the push of a button with zero downtime to the operators by leveraging high availability and rolling cluster upgrades. This approach also provides ease of maintenance and sustainment across an enterprise, which is important when maintaining critical systems remotely. 

A secure and modern VMS is necessary for data centres because they are the foundational application that a facility’s entire physical security is built upon. Therefore, VMS architecture should promote interoperability, scalability and reliability. We will repeat it: The VMS systems of yesterday are not ideally suited to meet the evolving risks that modern data centres face and in turn create a greater security risk.   

Video management designed around an IT-friendly infrastructure delivers the performance, scale and resilience required to support today’s demanding security and IoT requirements. These systems are designed to provide ease of scalability and flexibility, which is what most customers are looking for in today’s market. Whether a company is starting from scratch or has existing infrastructure, containerised video management software helps organisations lower management costs, reduce risk and ensure security objectives are met.

Video management must evolve. As more data centres adopt an IT-centric security infrastructure, IT leaders are becoming involved in selecting and deploying these once-traditional physical security solutions and looking for systems that follow the standard IT protocols. Containerised VMS is the answer: A scalable, simple-to-use and robust solution designed to fit the specific needs of your data centre – built on the IT infrastructure companies rely on daily.

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This article was originally published in the November edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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