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Advancing Data Center Security with Robotics

Author: David Wang   Publication Date: May 10, 2017

With the amount of time and money that goes into securing data centers, companies and organizations expect just that, that their data centers will be secure. However, security issues, such as breaches, continue to persist. Currently, network infrastructure in the data center is static, meaning IT must take a hands-on approach to making and maintaining connections so that business can move forward. Along with the time and money this takes, this also introduces potential security threats and impacts a business’s ability to respond.


With data centers now sprawling to millions of square feet the question becomes – is a new approach needed to make infrastructure more dynamic so it is easier for IT to respond and control points of vulnerability?  The answer is an unequivocal yes.


What it comes down to is that it isn’t about if you will be breached, but when. For data centers to achieve effective security, IT managers must understand the importance of being proactive and not reactive. This is why we suggest IT managers look into the benefits of robotic automation in the data center.


The two main security concerns that I see as being key drivers as to why IT managers should look to robotic automation are human error and the lag time of response to a threat.



Security Concern: The Risk Of Human Error – Malicious Or Not


There’s no sugar coating it, humans make mistakes. It’s something that is inevitable but also something that tends to lead to improvement. When it comes to data center security though, human error is something that can have a negative impact on business and rarely, if ever, leads to gains.


Simple mistakes, human or otherwise, pose a profound risk to a business and its data. Security threats posed by traditional viruses, Trojan Horses and other common methods are well-known, documented, and currently protected against by advanced firewalls and other appliances. What many tend to forget, though, is to address another critical point of vulnerability – the infrastructure.


At  present, all optical connections within a data center are managed manually. Miscommunication or other human error when performing simple maintenance or adjustments to network infrastructure, can increase the potential for additional errors and create spiraling security threats. Finding a way to automate these connections, therefore, not only mitigates the possibility of error, but it also saves money in the process.



Security Concern: Lag Time To Stop A Threat In Its Tracks


The amount of time spent on reacting to a security threat can be the difference between a quick-fix and a big headache. Because physical connections in remote data centers must be changed manually, a company is only as quick in its response as it is in dispatching an operator to the site to perform the work.


Consequently, differentiating real threats from false positives can directly impact a company’s bottom line. Time lost to dispatching an operator coupled with the static nature of physical infrastructure allows security vulnerabilities more time to propagate, potentially exposing additional machines and servers. Therefore, taking a more proactive approach to your infrastructure and enabling it for dynamic, remote management not only represents significant savings, but also significant risk mitigation.



Solution: Robotic Automation


With the introduction of robots into the data center, these security concerns become nonexistent. Shifting traditionally manual tasks to robots, not only makes data center networks more secure, but allows for real-time, remote resolution of security issues, with no worry of human error or lag time.


The result is that operators see reductions in both OPEX and CAPEX, improved reliability and security, and future-proofed critical infrastructure. It also frees up time for network operators to focus on other activities.


Clearly, anticipating a data center breach before it happens will ultimately set your data center up for security success. And, integrating robotics into the data center will allow you to do just that.