How tech giants are safeguarding your data at their mammoth facilities (IANS Special)

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New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) With the dramatic rise in Internet fraud and data breaches in the past couple of years amid nation-state actors now threatening critical and sensitive government data, it has become crucial for the tech companies to put in place top-of-the-line measures to stay ahead of hackers.

Since both the consumer and critical data are saved within massive data centres globally, safeguarding the facilities from global-scale cyber attacks has become the top priority for giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook, among others.

Not just on the ground, Microsoft has even deployed an experimental, shipping container-size data centre on the seafloor near Scotland’s Orkney Islands to help coastal communities connect to the Internet in a secure and efficient way.

Data centres are facilities that centralise an organisation’s information technology (IT) operations and equipment, as well as where it stores, manages and disseminates its data. These also house a network’s critical systems, hence facing a heightened risk of attack.

Since data centres are generally backed up remotely, physical attacks may be less attractive than cyber attacks for bad actors, say experts.

“While physical security is given utmost importance at data centres, it is critical for organisations to beef up their cybersecurity posture through regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to check their readiness to tackle cyber threats,” Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited, told IANS.

Google has built custom servers exclusively for its data centres, never selling or distributing them externally.

“We’ve also designed them so they don’t include unnecessary hardware or software — reducing the number of potential vulnerabilities,” says the company, adding that it has robust disaster recovery measures in place.

For example, in the event of a fire or any other disruption, Google shifts data access automatically and seamlessly to another data centre so that the users can keep working, uninterrupted.

“Our emergency backup generators continue to power our data centres even in the event of a power failure,” the company informed on its website.

While you work, the big tech companies automatically back up critical data.

The companies also rigorously track the location and status of each hard drive at their data centres and destroy hard drives that have reached the end of their lives to prevent access to the data.

For example, Facebook built its first data centre in Prineville in the US state of Oregon and the complex now consists of three massive buildings.

“The smallest of the three data centre buildings is about 350,000 square feet in size and the newest, which is still under construction, will measure over 450,000 square feet. Each one could easily hold a modern aircraft carrier and still have plenty of room to spare,” says TechCrunch.

“Data centre security demands maintaining the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.

“Protecting data centre networks requires greater flexibility and modernisation to keep pace with increasingly sophisticated threats as the attackers know targeting the data centers will reap them more ROI,” Sunil Sharma, Managing Director-Sales, India and SAARC, Sophos, told IANS.

–IANS

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