The biggest security threat to data centres in South Africa

Internet Solutions recently opened its new Parklands data centre in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The facility boasts a unique modular construction and is designed to be flexible and scalable while remaining power-efficient.

It is set to officially begin operating in January 2019, and boasts 1,600 square metres of floor space along with 572 racks and 2.2MW of power.

IS Data Centres executive head Matthew Ashe said the data centre boasts six layers of physical security in addition to precisely-monitored systems and logical separation of environments to ensure the highest level of security.

Additionally, the Parklands data centre is designed with multiple redundancies and failsafes to ensure constant uptime.

Physical security

Ashe said that while international clients often worried about physical security in South Africa, physical breaches are not very likely.

“The research we have done specifically in South Africa shows there is a very low chance of a physical breach into a data centre,” he said.

“We have international clients who often say they are worried about a terrorist attack, which is not a common thing that happens in South Africa.”

“Obviously you have to be very careful of somebody just wandering into the data centre and that is the reason we have physical security implemented,” Ashe added.

He said that while IS places a lot of emphasis on physical security in its data centres, it is not because the company sees it as a major threat, but rather because a lot of international clients require this security.

“In my opinion, the biggest threat is not physical security, it is remote,” Ashe said.

Remote access

Ashe told MyBroadband that hacking attacks can be difficult for data centres to protect against.

“I would think that it is easier for a hacker to gain remote access to somebody’s server than for someone to break into a data centre,” Ashe said.

“That is something which is very difficult for us to manage from a data centre perspective, because clients come into the data centre and they do not necessarily have to get their connectivity or their security services from us,” he added.

“They can get an Internet connection from anybody they want, and we do not manage their security on their behalf.”

The company does offer security and management services through its business units, which allow it to protect clients’ servers from remote attacks, and IS ensures that all client servers are logically separated from each other to improve security.

“We logically separate these servers via VLANs and firewalls, and in some instances a server might not even touch our network at all,” Ashe said.

“It could be a physical cross-connect directly from another provider’s network.”

The possibility of somebody hacking into servers within a data centre is far more likely than a physical breach, and the protection is dependent wholly on the client or the client’s cybersecurity provider.

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The biggest security threat to data centres in South Africa