Transitioning to the Cloud Poses New Challenges
In the past, organizations largely operated their own data centers on-site. This included managing both the computer systems of the data center and the resources required to keep them operational (heating and cooling, uninterruptible power supplies, etc.).
Now, many organizations have transitioned to using cloud-based infrastructure instead of on-prem data centers. Under this model, the cloud services provider is responsible for the majority of the infrastructure stack.
However, this does not mean that customers no longer have any responsibility for data center management. Data center managers are responsible for maintaining and securing the portions of their infrastructure stack that are under their control based upon their chosen service model and their cloud service provider’s shared responsibility model.
With a transition to the cloud comes new challenges for data center managers and security teams. In order to protect today’s data centers there is a need for higher levels of flexibility in order to keep up with the migration of application workloads.
Data Center Management Components and Tasks
Data Centers are composed of elements designed to perform three main functions:
- Compute: Compute resources provide the memory and processing power needed to run applications.
- Storage: Storage resources host enterprise data on a variety of different media, including backups.
- Network: Networking resources support communications between the various components within the data center and with the outside world.
Data center managers need to ensure that data centers are capable of meeting service level agreements (SLAs) with regard to all of these types of resources. This includes both long-term strategic planning and short-term monitoring and response to situations that could impact the operations of the data center.
Data Center Management Challenges
Modern data centers are extremely sophisticated infrastructures, which create a variety of challenges for data center managers including:
- Infrastructure Complexity: Data centers are composed of various hardware and software solutions from multiple vendors. Data center managers are tasked with deploying, configuring, monitoring, and maintaining all of these systems and their associated licenses, warranties, updates, and more, potentially across multiple data centers with varying maturity levels.
- SLA Requirements: Data center managers must meet certain SLAs, including availability, data retention, recovery speed, and more for complex environments.
- Change Management: Data center managers are required to deploy services and applications, often on tight schedules. This involves ensuring that the data center has the resources required and implementing changes following change management approval processes.
- Cost Management: Data centers must be operated on tight budgets, of which energy and cooling costs eat up a significant percentage. This forces assets to be acquired based on cost rather than their fit to a data center’s needs and challenges.
Data Center Security Management Requirements
Data center management is not limited to ensuring that the infrastructure and software solutions are functional. Data center managers are also responsible for the security of their environments.
The transition to the cloud means that data center security is more complex than ever. As data center managers migrate systems and services to the cloud, they must do this securely while ensuring data center resources meet the demands of their users. A scalable data center network security solution is essential and should offer the following capabilities:
- Hyperscale Network Security: Scalability is one of the main benefits of cloud-based infrastructure. Hyperscale network security ensures that security resources can seamlessly scale to meet demand.
- Next Generation Firewalls (NGFWs): Data centers require protection against the latest cyber threats. NGFWs provide multi-layered security to an organization’s on-prem or cloud-based data center.
- Automation/Orchestration: Rapid, scalable threat detection and response is essential to minimizing the impact and cost of a potential security incident. Automation and orchestration maximize the effectiveness of lean security teams by automating common and routine security tasks.
- Hybrid Cloud Security: Most organizations have adopted hybrid cloud environments, spreading their infrastructure across public and private cloud environments. Hybrid cloud security is essential to preventing lateral movement of threats through an organization’s environment.
- Serverless Security: Serverless deployments provide a number of benefits to an organization, such as increased flexibility and scalability, as well as decreased cost and management overhead. However, they also require tailored serverless security solutions to provide complete security visibility and control.
- Visibility and Analytics: Security teams can’t secure what they can’t see. Integrated security visibility – enhanced with threat intelligence – is essential to security teams’ ability to detect and respond effectively to potential threats.
The Role of the Data Center Manager is Evolving
Organizations are transitioning from wholly on-prem data centers to using cloud-based infrastructure. Data center managers are responsible for the security of their infrastructure and require data center security solutions that enable them to protect data center assets whether they’re on premise, in the cloud, or both.
Check Point next-generation firewall (NGFW) security management provides the features that data center managers require to stay secure. To learn more about these capabilities, you’re welcome to schedule a personalized demo.