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Thieves gravitate towards locations with least security and most reward. They force the public’s hand in creating more stringent security methods and finding new locations in which to place valuables. Traditionally speaking, valuables are considered money or tangible items. In a world driven by information, however, knowledge is invaluable. Instead of money in vaults or in mattresses, people and businesses have entrusted data centers with the storage of their valuable information. Data centers are the new frontier of storage, and thieving entities have taken notice.
Unfortunately, utilization of data centers for digital storage has grown faster than the ability to secure it. To give perspective, there are 3 million data centers in the US which is roughly one data center per 100 people. Additionally, there are 1.23 billion daily active users of Facebook, and nearly half of the US uses online streaming services. Internet and digital technology has figuratively exploded in popularity. But why?
Why We Need Data Centers
To understand why, it’s important to understand the correlation between internet services and data centers. Data centers provide the storage and infrastructure taken for granted when streaming, creating online accounts, and accessing information regardless of location. Both large and small private companies have data centers at offices around the globe, and the data center itself is simple enough: a building or room housing servers with information digitally stored in bytes.
As technology has evolved, servers and their surrounding shell have shrunken, and storage has become more cost effective. Less than a decade ago, a data center may have held gigabytes of information. Today, smartphones have at least 64 GB of storage. Major companies are now handling so much information that they need exabytes of space, and 1 exabyte is 1,073,741,821 GB. For easy visualization, 1 GB is approximately equivalent to 64,782 Microsoft Word pages – so that’s a lot of information.
However, data centers are not done evolving. Instead of shrinking their on-site data storage space, companies are simply foregoing their own data centers and using the cloud. That said, the more that companies begin to store or analyze their data in-house, the more that executives will need to be familiar with industry insights such as the difference between business analytics and business intelligence.
With data being a relatively new business endeavor, it comes no surprise that many executives lack this common knowledge, especially considering that almost 50% of all organizations consider themselves analytically challenged. Businesses that want to remain competitive in the years to come will need to put a key focus on developing their data and analytics departments.
The Cloud and Its Benefits
Contrary to the term, the cloud does not reside in the sky. The cloud is a network of off-site data centers run by companies as storage and computing services. Basically, why invest in a personal data center that is expensive and continuously changing when you have the option of renting space at a fraction of the cost? Although there are security concerns associated with the cloud, they are the same concerns a company would face with their own data center. Not to mention, using the cloud is a smart use of power, and companies benefit from looking “green”.
30% of servers within data centers are idle in America; just consuming power without storing or delivering information. If companies could reduce the amount of power consumed by private data centers and utilize the cloud, there would be a significant drop in power usage. Basically, leveraging cloud storage instead of building superfluous data centers. There are concerns with storing sensitive information off-site, such as its safety and security. While the former may be a different situation, the latter has proven tumultuous regardless of location.
Protecting Data Against Hackers
With a clearer view of online use, data center storage, the cloud, and power concerns, it’s time to acknowledge the accompanying cybercrime. 4.2 billion records (profile information) were stolen in 2016 as a result of cybercrime. Although there is a myriad of factors involved, some of the most prevalent issues are laws and regulations involving cybercrime as well as reporting digital theft.
The recorded number is mostly comprised of reported incidents or investigations, so the actual numbers are even greater. Along with increasing security and penalization for cybercrime, companies need to report data breaches in order to protect their customer. It is a company’s responsibility to secure their customer information, but, because a data breaches reflect negatively, they don’t want to make an official report. If digital security professionals could gain a more thorough understanding of these data breaches through investigation, they could better protect company and personal information stored in data centers.