IT Security in the “Hands” of Robots?December 14, 2016 No Comments
Featured article by David Wang, CEO of Wave2Wave Solution
Security issues for IT managers are a primary concern. And the fact is, humans make mistakes. This is inevitable. But when it comes to IT security, these mistakes can be disastrous. Is it possible that these mistakes can be avoided by putting those traditionally manual tasks into the “hands” of robots? This idea that robots can ease security concerns and provide more time to operators for other activities and reduce OPEX is very appealing.
While the number and sophistication of attacks from both internal and external sources continues to grow, IT security and risk mitigation jobs are becoming full time tasks. Businesses must spend a significant amount of time and money to ensure security within their data centers. Even then, many have commented that it isn’t if you will be breached, but when.
To date, security concerns have been addressed via the deployment of purpose-built appliances for detecting, monitoring and quarantining of common known attacks from external sources, as well as firewalls for both solidified perimeters and internal segmentation. In addition, internal threats have been tackled via various software-based policies, password or authentication technologies, siloed departments and access controls, and other advances like auto-redaction. But, the question is whether this is all that can be done or are there areas that can be advanced not currently in use?
One area current security approaches don’t address is the infrastructure itself. Network infrastructure in the data center is currently static meaning IT must take a very hands-on approach to making and maintaining connections so the business can move forward. This not only can lead to more money and time being spent to manage growing data centers, but also introduces potential security threats and impacts businesses ability to respond in the event of either malicious or unintentional breaches. With data centers now sprawling to millions of square feet and the effort for securing them continuing to grow IT managers must consider ways to make infrastructure more dynamic so it will be easier to respond and control points of vulnerability.
Key Security Concerns: Human Error and Timing
We are only human. Even if it’s not malicious, human error can pose a profound risk to a business and its data. Outside of common security threats like traditional viruses and Trojan Horses that are currently protected by advanced firewalls and other appliances, many forget about another point of vulnerability – the infrastructure itself. At present, all optical connections within a data center are cared for manually. Miscommunication or other human error when performing simple maintenance or making adjustments to network infrastructure can increase the potential for a wrong move to be made and security threats quickly becoming a bigger problem. Finding a way to automate these connections and removing the potential for human error can simplify monitoring of potential areas of exposure and help save money in the process.
Beyond the human touch is timing. The longer it takes to react to a security threat can be the difference between an easy-fix and a big headache. When a security breach happens, certain things need to be done very fast to cut off bridges to other systems and to reroute the traffic so as to avoid the threat from spreading. Today, physical connections in remote data centers must be changed manually, meaning a company is only as quick to respond as it can dispatch an operator and get to work. It takes people time to travel, to get on the phones and to get to the data center to fix the issue. This valuable lost time gives security vulnerabilities longer to propagate, potentially exposing additional machines and servers. Taking a more proactive approach to your infrastructure and enabling it for dynamic, remote management can significantly improve your business’ time-to-response and enable IT to quickly mitigate any risk.
Key Security Solution: Robotic Automation
One compelling case to consider is robotics. Leveraging robotics can significantly improve data center security response. Putting traditionally manual tasks in the “hands” of robots makes data center networks more secure, and security issues can be resolved in real time, remotely, with no worry of human error or lag time. Robotic technologies make the network infrastructure dynamic, and can assist IT staff in quarantining threats by quickly removing physical connections to other systems remotely in a fast manner. This also simplifies the network infrastructure and makes the network less vulnerable.
A robotic technology that can connect or disconnect a physical network connection quickly introduces more security and manageability. As a result of the introduction of robotic technology for managing the physical optical connections within the network, operators will not only see improved security response, but also reduced OPEX and CAPEX, and improved reliability, as well as future-proof their critical infrastructure.
David Wang is CEO of Wave2Wave, a data center connectivity company headquartered in California.