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FCW : September 15, 2015
The federal government remains a compelling target for hackers across the globe. This is clearly evidenced by numerous recent high- profile breaches and many more attacks that are either unsuccessful or not headline-worthy. In the face of these persistent threats, there are still a variety of steps agencies can take to improve their security posture and reduce risks. As everyone knows, there’s no silver bullet in IT security. It’s a recipe. And each ingredient must play its part for the end result to be successful. World class datacenter security combines perimeter security, secure applications and infrastructure, and security in the architectural design. Security measures added on after the fact, after these things are built, developed, or architected is more vulnerable. It’s simply not native to the infrastructure. For this reason, hyperconverged infrastructure has emerged as a strong bulwark against the persistent threats to the federal government’s IT infrastructure. THE HYPERCONVERGED SOLUTION Hyperconverged infrastructure is disrupting legacy practices of main- taining compute, storage and stor- age network infrastructure as three separate tiers. That has always meant three separate tiers to procure, install, configure, manage and secure. Instead of hardening each individual data center component, a hyperconverged infrastructure delivers all of this in one integrated package—a single tier. Besides the obvious benefits of procuring, housing and refreshing less physical hardware, this creates consid- erable architectural advantage for those securing federal datacenters. Smaller infrastructure means a smaller attack profile. There are also fewer and more narrow points of access and egress. While hyperconverged infrastructure provides an inherently higher level of security than legacy datacenter infra- structure, federal agencies must require solutions to meet all basic security stan- dards before committing to an invest- ment. Some agencies assign their most skilled IT engineers to manually secure infrastructure and applications. However, most datacenters don’t have that level of in-house expertise. The result is often a mix of systems that only partially meet security require- ments. There may be others where IT staff has to disable certain functions to meet security requirements. When that happens, it becomes the agency’s problem to find ways to secure those applications or appliances in ways to meet agency and federal requirements. That’s the wrong equation for today’s environment. “Vendors can’t expect their custom- ers to know more about how to secure their products than they do,” says Eric Hammersly, security architect at Nutanix, a next-generation datacenter infrastructure company. “Vendors need to start owning the responsibility by building applications and products with security in mind from the ground up, and protecting them on an ongoing basis from open vulnerabilities and zero-day threats that can emerge.” For the most effective protection, choose a solution that secures data at rest through high-level encryption, and one that protects data from unau- thorized access when the drives are off-line. The hyperconverged infra- structure solution also should enforce strong two-factor authentication to protect against unauthorized access. Basic security standards should be built into the solution itself, such as Solidify Datacenter Security The hyperconverged infrastructure can help federal agencies simplify the process of securing their datacenters. Shutterstock.com GameChanger GAME CHANGING TECHNOLOGY TO MEET AGENCY MISSIONS SPONSORED CONTENT HYPERCONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE 0815_GameChanger_Nutanix_FCW_final3.indd 3 8/21/15 3:10 PM
August 30, 2015
September 30, 2015