How to avoid tunnel vision and invest with success in your data center security:
Broaden your perspective at SHI’s Customer Innovation Center

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Implementing cybersecurity initiatives within your data center impacts end users, IT operations, and overall security posture. Additionally, these projects are often associated with a high level of investment, complex integration points, and stringent business objectives. Failure to implement security solutions correctly can have devastating effects beyond the financial loss, including decreased IT performance, poor user experience, and increased risk.

Case in point, data center resiliency and uptime remain a top priority for organizations. But many struggle to meet SLAs because of “botched projects” that impacted the network’s availability.

Unfortunately, failed projects can happen even when an organization has solid workers, a strong plan, and established procedures for selecting a desired cybersecurity technology. We’ll discuss how a consultative approach, proper stakeholder engagement, and solution testing reduce the risk of failed deployments and wasted investment.

Assess your security standpoint

Cybersecurity is multifaceted, especially in the data center. It’s often a delicate balancing act between addressing security risks, business goals, and cost effectiveness – all while ensuring a good user experience and seamless integration with existing IT solutions. Many organizations have a strong conception of what solution they need – but a minimal understanding of how it will impact stakeholders and the business.

We have seen countless examples of security initiatives where large organizations fixate on the technology at the expense of the broader picture. Impact on the business, ease of implementation, user experience, how the solution integrates with organization policies and workflow – all of this is vital to consider. A technology-first approach does not address all the interactions that need to happen to ensure proper deployment and reduce risk.

Put the business first

Any data center cybersecurity solution should enable the business to work efficiently and securely without inhibiting or conflicting with existing business practices, processes, and workflows. Our experts take a consultative and structured approach that begins by examining your organization’s current architecture, touchpoints, and system integrations. When we meet with your teams, we help your stakeholders understand how a proposed security initiative will integrate into your existing environment – and flag potential IT and business risks.

“Project teams should be encouraged to consider how the change could potentially increase support desk calls, slow down key business applications, or perform against potential change within the business which may occur three, five, or even seven years from now,” said SHI Global Field Chief Information Security Officer Garth Whitacre. “It may sound simple on the surface, but these are areas that are frequently overlooked and cause data center security deployments to fail.

“Over the last several years, SHI has seen a paradigm shift in the way organizations consider the usability of their business and security applications,” said SHI Global Field Chief Information Security Officer Brad Bowers. “Usability and user experience are now key. Historically, an approach to security might not have cared if it made things rough for users as long as it was secure. Enterprise organizations now want that same security, but they also want the user experience and usability to be quick, smooth, and seamless.”

Celebrate your uniqueness

Many organizations have similar data center security goals. The challenge is that no two paths are the same for any organization; there is always a unique blend of applications, workflow, and business drivers.

This is especially true for data center security initiatives. Data center environments are typically the foundation of the network and systems that store, process, and make an organization’s data available. It is a highly complex area and, regardless of any combination of on-premises or cloud technology, it is critical that it be architected and maintained properly.

SHI addresses these challenges by delving into your environment to ensure we understand your organization’s unique requirements. This research enables us to determine the security solutions that best address your specific technical needs – and integrate sans issues into your existing IT solutions and processes.

“An organization can purchase the best solution on the planet, but if it doesn’t fit well with the business culture and workflow, it will not be a good fit. This can lead to users circumventing their own organization’s controls,” said SHI Global Director of Cyber Security Engineering John McMahon.

Ensure a 360-degree view of your business and user requirements

Gaining a wider perspective is where SHI’s Customer Innovation Center (CIC) Labs come into play. In our space, your organization can:

  1. Thoroughly map all use cases that should be considered ahead of an investment.
  2. Test potential technology solutions using best practices against these use cases.

This lab environment enables your organization to make a well-informed decision and reduce the chance of unexpected challenges or project failure. Testing becomes quicker and more agile, benefitting from our pre-existing relationships with major and emerging cybersecurity vendors.

Not only does your organization get a better understanding of what technology is the right fit, you can shine a light on potential issues and ask the right questions to maximize the value of the solutions you want to pursue.

“A thorough testing process is key to optimizing a chosen solution,” said Brad. “There are situations where organizations purchase the market-leading solution for data center security, but only use 20 to 30 percent of its capability because they have not planned or tested how to integrate the other pieces into their business.”

A holistic approach

Data center cybersecurity initiatives can be challenging. When done without proper planning, stakeholder engagement, and user testing, they can leave an organization with a fragmented solution stack, poor usability, and security risks. Leveraging a solution integrator like SHI – that takes the time to understand an organization’s users, business, and security needs – can ensure a path to a successful solution deployment.

“Taking a holistic approach to use case discovery, documenting an expanded range of scenarios that should be considered across multiple stakeholder groups, will help an organization understand their wider business processes and solutions already in play,” said John. “This enables the organization to determine with confidence what will work well within that environment.”

Book a call with our specialists to understand how SHI’s CIC labs and testing services enable your organization to plan, design, explore, and validate your cybersecurity needs.