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How Software-Defined Data Center Solutions Help Manage Risk

Cybersecurity threats represent a key risk for modern IT infrastructure and management. Poor risk management may give hackers an opportunity to steal data, and fines assessed due to a breach may rise well above $1 million. According to Forbes, U.S. companies possess the highest cost for a data breach, approximately $148 per record. In addition, the speed of response and measures taken to rectify the breach and secure data affect total cost. While traditional risk management strategies, such as running backups often or limiting access to critical systems, are preventing some breaches software-defined data center solutions can improve cybersecurity and mitigate risks with less disruption.

The State of Cybersecurity and Software-Defined Data Center Solutions.

Migration of IT infrastructure to a software-defined data center offers key benefits, but misconceptions surrounding its security remain. As explained by CIO.com, virtualization of IT infrastructure enables traceability of applications from implementation through transition to another system. Unfortunately, the use of virtualization can lead to several IT risks. However, these risks are not inherent flaws in virtualization. Instead, they arise from a failure to recognize the way in which risks may exist in virtual environments.

For example, bringing a virtual machine (VM) online to confirm details could provide an access point that results in disruption or loss of data. Unauthorized operating systems (OS) and subpar security patches contribute to this risk. Since virtualization grew much faster than IT professionals realized, the names of individual applications and VMs could result in accidentally opening Pandora’s Box.

With that in mind, careful auditing of VMs and standardized processes within virtualized systems alleviates the concern. More importantly, virtual application programming interfaces (APIs) simplify the process of cybersecurity management and increase security protocols.

Simplification of Security Controllers and Segmentation Enable Companywide Security Management.

Simplification of security controllers and micro-segmentation empowers the IT infrastructure with enhance cybersecurity management. As explained by Homeland Security Today, virtualized deployments transform simple-process servers into a virtual server infrastructure. APIs effectively limit the ability to share data to a predefined set of information. Therefore, the risk of a breach is limited solely to the information shared.

While this may sound like a problem with hyperconverged IT infrastructure, it serves as a true benefit. APIs enable segmentation of information. As a result, information cannot be accessed without the proper integration code, and since the code relies on open-standard architecture, IT professionals can manage the entire network’s security processes without delay. This provides an invaluable resource for both preventing cybersecurity breaches and mitigating problems after a breach is located.

End-to-End Visibility Within Software-Defined Data Centers Improves Identification of Threats.

Speaking of identification of threats, the same features that enable better mitigation of risks after they come to fruition can be applied to identify vulnerabilities in advance. As a result, the system can automatically review security protocols and identify such vulnerabilities. The result is the same; IT professionals can make swift changes to policies and ensure maximum cybersecurity. As individual applications reside on internal cybersecurity protocols in tandem, they build a stronger cybersecurity network for the virtual environment.

APIs enable flexibility and integration of systems. Gains in agility hold value in improving prevention strategies and response time should an event occur. Rapid changes to the VM-level isolate vulnerabilities, which gives administrators an exact means of eliminating such threats. Fluidity in data storage also allows for the preservation of data in the worst scenarios, leveraging quarantine protocols that reduce disruptions and minimize data loss or theft, notes VMWare.

IT Automation Leverages Faster Resource Provisioning, Reducing the Risk of Manual Errors That Contribute to Cybersecurity Risks.

A common problem with traditional cybersecurity goes back to the risk inherent in manual configuration. Manual configuration is a step away from an accidental oversight that creates a doorway for hackers. Micro-segmentation within software-defined data centers separates components and applications, says Network Computing. This critical factor plays an invaluable role in providing a swift response to security issues.

For instance, the system can automatically issue security alerts and handle security incidents with the application of artificial intelligence. Within the virtual architecture, malicious activities are subject to quarantine and eliminated from the server. Subsequent protocols for scanning of remaining environment processes and systems also identifies any components affected by the issue. As a result, overall cybersecurity increases, lessening the risk of stiff fines and penalties for a data breach.

Less Hardware Amounts to Fewer Opportunities for Cybersecurity Weaknesses.

A final cybersecurity benefit of software-defined data center solutions exists in the form of less physical hardware. Traditional data centers rely upon on-site hardware and extensive software. Anyone with access to the hardware and an IT background could breach the system. Of course, physical security at the location reduces this risk, but problems may still arise. Instead of leaving hardware subject to such risks, virtualization enables the use of both on-site and cloud-based systems to increase cybersecurity. Less hardware lowers the risk of a physical data breach, and combined with cloud-based technologies, segmented assets in the virtual environment prevent the unauthorized access and dissemination of data. The same benefit continues to grow in value with respect to the need for upgrades and security patches. Hardware elimination, says Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), simplifies security management.

Summary: Software-Defined Data Center Solutions Provide Immediate Gains in IT Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

Software-defined data centers redefine the agility and scalability of organizations. Their ease of use and wide-ranging potential pushes the software-defined market higher, and while companies have traditionally deployed internal processes for managing cybersecurity, software-defined data centers hold an invaluable solution. Since software-defined solutions rely on individual applications that scale to meet the IT stack needs of an organization, cybersecurity naturally increases. This is the result of ongoing process improvement and application-level cybersecurity measures. Even when problems arise within a single system or connection, routing and network virtualization effectively limit the ability of hackers to access data. Increased cybersecurity makes it more expensive for hackers to breach the system, so software-defined data center solutions are a less appealing target.

The cybersecurity initiatives within software-defined data centers allow for the efficiency and dynamic set of tools to reduce risk. Meanwhile, eliminating the physical access points of maintaining on-site servers and traditional data centers allows for ongoing security improvements. When a vulnerability becomes evident, scalable, compatible solutions enable the insertion of additional security points without downtime and lost digital power. Organizations that do still use legacy technology can continue to do so and incorporate it with software-defined virtualization, reducing vulnerabilities along the way.

As the world continues through digital transformation, the need to improve cybersecurity in all industries will rise. According to Business Wire, rising adoption of cloud technologies will enable more virtualization, moving more processes toward software-defined solutions. With time, information security services will become synonymous with software-defined data centers, reports Gartner. Moreover, efficiency and proactive measures to reduce cybersecurity risks will drive even faster adoption rates, so the topic grows closer to enhanced risk management. Of course, some companies may hold out on implementing virtual environments, but the path is clear. Software-defined data center solutions add to, not detract from, risk management and bolstered cybersecurity.

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