Protecting Digital Assets: A Data Center Architect’s Perspective

Jun 13, 2017 by Justin Richards

As Terry pointed out in his blog, backups are no fun. There are many vectors to look at when protecting digital assets. The top concerns in my mind are backups, and security. I don’t think either are classified as sexy, but neglecting them tends to end poorly for your company, and possibly your career. You might say “But Justin, that’s not my job!” Well, I’ve worked in some pretty big shops in the last 20+ years and I can tell you, when the “stuff” hits the fan, you WILL get some on you.

To take from one of my all time favorite movies; “After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth.” Our team has been down this hole a few times, and we’re ready to help you through it.

The data center you manage and/or work in is not someone’s hobby. All that cool stuff (including you) has been put in there to do a job, and generate revenue for the company. Data is called “digital assets” because data is the new gold. Whether it’s your search history getting scraped by retail websites to blast you with ads, or it’s terabytes of structured and unstructured data your company stores, there is value in all of it.

An attack on your data picking up steam is Ransomware. This costs everyone money regardless how you play your cards. Let’s say you don’t pay…What will the downtime and data loss mean to the bottom line? Should you just pay the ransom, take the blue pill? You might get back online faster, but you are not out of the woods. The hackers will tell their buddies on Slack or IRC that you paid the ransom. But wait, there’s more! Let’s not forget the brand impact these events will have. Customers can switch to your competitor with the download of an app. The real impact goes beyond any single event.

Backups and security are key in protecting against Ransomware, and a slew of other threats. They were not trivial feats in the four-walls data center of last year. Things are even more difficult with the data center of tomorrow. In most cases, your company has already started leveraging “The Cloud”. The reality is you are going to have some data/applications on-prem, but there will be a series of Platform/Infrastructure/Software-As-A-Service solutions your company consumes off-prem. Shadow IT multiplies like the rabbits in my yard. The term data center no longer just describes a noisy room down the hall, it represents lines we draw to describe where production data and applications reside. This almost completely breaks how you backup, handle encryption, and secure data and networks if you are trying to do it “the old way”.

I’ll leave you with one more thought to ponder. In this brave new world, are you ready to make your virtual data center resilient so that mission critical applications survive hardware or network failures, natural disasters, and cloud failures? We’ve all seen these things happen more than once!

Protecting digital assets is much like deciding between the blue and red pills in The Matrix. You can choose to go to your happy place, or you can go deep. We are ready to assess your business objectives, and prescribe an extensible solution that solves the problems you have at the right level, and right time. In my next two posts, I’ll go deeper more around how we look at securing digital assets and BC/DR for critical applications. Hopefully this helps frame up how we look at your environment, whether we’ve been working with you for years, or we are new to your team.

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