DCN November 2016 - Page 28

security THE DATA DILEMMA Michael Winterson of Equinix Services explains how interconnection offers answers to the security challenges facing today’s businesses. The Internet today plays host to more business, devices and traffic than ever before. That means more opportunities for individuals to connect and for businesses to grow – but it also means the possibilities for hackers, fraudsters and cybercriminals increase every day. Traditional security systems are struggling to keep up with the increasingly sophisticated attacks launched across the globe. Fortythree per cent of all companies experienced a data breach in 2014 – a 10 per cent increase on 2013 – with 65 per cent of those companies saying the attackers evaded their existing safeguards. And if the average cost to US companies of a single breach ($3.5 million) isn’t alarming enough, you also have to consider the damage inflicted to the company’s reputation when a successful hack is made public. The security dilemma For modern businesses, the age of the firewall with the Virtual Private Network log-in is dead. With cyberattacks growing more powerful and complex by the day, companies must invest in multi-layered security solutions that provide robust and ever improving defences. This need to bolster data security, however, must be balanced against the fundamental need for businesses to be as connected as possible to their customers, clients and partners. Business leaders grasp the importance of shifting to the cloud for all-round business agility and performance gain, but struggle to overcome the fear of losing ‘on-premises’ data control. Interconnected business The solution to this security dilemma, for all its complexity, comes in the form of a very simple maxim: there is no connection more secure than a direct connection. Bypassing the public Internet can eliminate many of the data liabilities which keep company bosses awake at night. Not only this, it can cut latency times and boost infrastructure reliability. At Equinix we developed our Cloud Exchange to allow companies to interconnect with multiple cloud providers directly; dramatically lowering the risk profile compared with the public Internet. When companies connect directly through the exchange, they shrink their potential ‘attack surface’, reducing the number of vulnerable data hops and closing off attack points. We offer direct connections to Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud platforms to give our customers access to the largest providers. It’s understandable that many companies are reluctant to move key data away from their direct control; feeling that colocating at a data centre makes it less secure, or that it will require the reduction or removal of carefully crafted security measures. But data centres can be built to complement a company’s specific data security policies, and should come complete with several stages of physical security and two factor authentication – ideally passcodes/swipe cards and biometrics – at every single level of access. And for those already forging ahead, looking to more agile hybrid cloud architectures, a mechanism like the Cloud Exchange can offer direct, on-demand and simultaneous connections to multiple cloud providers via multiple networks from a single port. 28