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Posted by Anna Nicholls on 28-May-2019 12:24:53

Cyber security vs physical security: how safe is your data?


Data security is important. We all know that. The message from IT providers and the media alike, is strong and clear. And rightly so. Business data carries a value. Most companies would struggle to function without it, and whether data is stolen, or lost, downtime can cost as much as £6000 per minute, according to latest figures.

When we think about what we can do to protect this valuable business asset, the usual methods spring to mind. Passwords, encryption, anti virus, firewalls. All important factors to consider. We tend to focus on cybercrime. Not surprising, given It’s the fastest growing crime of our time, carrying a $1.5 trillion economy. In fact, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 4.5 million cybercrimes were committed in England and Wales between March 2017 - March 2018, with two out of every five businesses being affected - meaning you’re more likely to fall victim to cybercrime than any other kind of crime in the UK.

However, cyber security is only part of the equation, and what many people fail to give enough attention to, particularly as we move to a cloud-first world, is the physical security of their data. 

What is physical data security?

When a business stores its data on premise, it’s likely somebody will take responsibility for the physical security. A locked server cabinet, a secured building and an alarm system helps most business owners to sleep at night. But as more and more companies move to the cloud, how many think about the physical security of their cloud data?

Data centre security for cloud is just as critical as cyber security. The physical security of a data centre plays a large role in ensuring this data is kept safe. And while achieving true, across-the-board security for a data centre can be a major challenge, any DC worth its salt will have a number of stringent security measures in place - and be happy to show you these first hand.

Data centre security for cloud

As you move your company data, or that of your customers, to the cloud, you should be talking to data centre providers about the physical security of both the building, and the data. Think about access controls - to the building, to the data centre and to the servers. What are the fire/flood emergency procedures? What intrusion detection processes are in place?

What about compliance? Data centre security and compliance go hand in hand, and recognition from relevant industry bodies will help confirm the legitimacy of the data centre’s offering. So is your data centre accredited and compliant with required industry standards such as ISO, PCI DSS or any other relevant data centre security certifications?

A study carried out by IBM Security and Ponemon Institute reported that the global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, up 6.4 percent from last year. But there are intangible costs to a data loss or downtime, such as lost productivity and reputational damage, which many of these surveys fail to take into account. So when you’re putting business critical data in someone else’s hands, particularly as a cloud service provider handling large amounts of customer data, why wouldn’t you want to see exactly where it’s going to be kept?

A decent data centre will offer to take you on a tour of the facility to showcase their security measures. Take them up on it. Ask questions, and don’t put your data anywhere that offers less than world class security.

Look at it this way… if you were sourcing a storage facility in which to store some important personal belongings, you’d want to know where it is, and how it’s going to be protected. Why should you treat business data any differently?

To book a guided tour of our state of the art Manchester data centre, get in touch here or to download our Data Centre Security Checklist, click here.


Topics: data centre, security, dedicated server hosting, cloud server hosting

Anna Nicholls

Written by Anna Nicholls

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