June 17, 2010

Security Considerations for Cloud-Ready Data Centers

Data centers have evolved significantly as organizations consolidate servers, applications, and other resources, and as they adopt new technologies as a means to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Technologies such as server virtualization, distributed application tools, and IP-based storage are helping organizations maximize their data center resources, while at the same time making it more difficult to protect these critical assets.

In addition to cyber theft and increasing levels of malware, organizations must guard against new vulnerabilities introduced by data center technologies themselves. To date, security in the data center has been applied primarily at the perimeter and server levels. However, this approach isn't comprehensive enough to protect information and resources in new system architectures.

To effectively manage the new risks, organizations should reevaluate their data center security practices and implement new network-centric capabilities to ensure the integrity of their services. Because the network touches every device in the data center, it is an ideal location for security. A network-centric approach to providing security in the data center delivers benefits such as scalability, unified security policy definition and enforcement, visibility into application traffic, and reduced operations overhead.

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1 Comment

The move to virtualization is a foregone conclusion. However, as the network and IT processes become more decentralized, the concept of a "perimeter" defense becomes meaningless.

The paper does a great job of defining the security challenges in a cloud-centric world, defining the requirements to meet these challenges, and a proposing an architecture to meet these challenges.

A "must-read," imho.

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