Enhanced Cybersecurity Through Physical Infrastructure Security

Cyber Security

With the pandemic accelerating digital transformation across industries, companies are becoming better equipped to handle future disruptions. But the shift hasn’t come easily for many. Skill gaps often leave IT departments short on resources for everyday activities such as physical infrastructure security and monitoring as they focus on now-critical upgrades.

IT leaders are also increasingly turning to edge computing, consisting of on-premise servers, sensors, smart machines, and other devices that function independently or in conjunction with the cloud. Edge computing offers them a host of benefits like reduced network latency and operational expenses, real-time data processing, and bandwidth savings. However, some organizations face rapidly increasing security threats and associate edge computing with security concerns like a lack of physical security. These departments need reliable options to fulfill their cybersecurity and physical security needs.

In partnership with NetworkWorld, we’ve created a physical infrastructure security guide including best practices for protecting your edge ecosystem. Download the eGuide or continue reading below for a sneak peek of what’s included in the guide.

Edge Computing and Physical Infrastructure Security

Several factors are at play that affect the reliability and uptime of hybrid IT infrastructure.

  1. Limited floor space: Remote edge sites, such as warehouses, plant floors, retail stores, or branch offices, aren’t always well-planned to accommodate high-end technology equipment. Smaller spaces also often lack the floor space to properly deploy and manage valuable IT equipment, such as servers, routers, and storage gear. In uncontrolled edge environments, this space constraint can significantly affect the power dissipation capacity of devices, hobbling IT’s power management strategy because the heat generated at each step requires additional cooling power.
  2. Temperature: While edge deployments, purpose-built for specific use cases, bring game-changing benefits of speed and scale to the forefront, they have also created other challenges. For instance, to cut down on the number of racks used, IT professionals tend to pack each cabinet with as many computing resources as possible to increase the raw processing power. This can lead to excessive temperature intake, raising the possibility of hardware degradation and even causing a service outage. Another critical consideration is that edge infrastructure is tailored as per the application requirements and may lack sophisticated cooling racks or modules, making it difficult to maintain environmental efficiency in smaller, condensed IT environments.
  3. Humidity and condensation: Especially in small LAN rooms and cabinets, air moisture content building up within devices can lead to mold, corrosion, electrical short-circuits, and system downtime. Maintaining the ideal relative humidity (RH) level, between 40% and 60%, is crucial for device longevity and reliability.
  4. Physical security: Critical assets and digital services must be protected against unauthorized access and unintentional human errors that can result in data loss and downtime. Because edge locations are often remote and disconnected, higher quality, integrated video surveillance systems are required to rule out any unusual activity and outages in “lights-off” edge environments out of bounds to IT staff. With an integrated environmental and security monitoring solution that offers video surveillance and event correlation flexibility, IT can monitor and get a real picture of a specific incident happening in real-time, hone in on video data for analysis, and quickly identify risks to minimize its impact.

Cyber Security

Maintaining Optimal Physical Security Doesn’t Require an Entirely New Approach

For example, in the face of an unforeseen outage, IT can use the video audit trail to get accurate details that led to downtime. Besides enhancing security, real-time monitoring and video surveillance down to the individual rack level enable IT managers to avoid accidental human errors caused by staff or contractors, ensuring IT gear is protected at all times and maintaining a smooth audit trail for compliance.

Despite security concerns, IT leaders find that the benefits of edge computing far outweigh the potential drawbacks, and maintaining optimal physical security doesn’t require an entirely new approach. Using a practical monitoring solution that has already proven successful in large data centers and remote edge sites lets IT securely and remotely monitor the foundational layer that lies below the server and storage infrastructure.

A viable option is the NetBotz product line, an integrated security and environmental solution with built-in sensors that can harness critical information from network-connected devices such as remote network closets and densely packed racks or wiring closets. The solution allows IT to monitor even the most distant edge sites through EcoStruxure IT Expert — a secure, cloud-based end-to-end monitoring and management software that centralizes the management of NetBotz appliances deployed across various locations.

The NetBotz appliance is designed to accommodate varying need levels — from a single rack enclosure to a five-rack server room — and enables IT to prevent disruptions from reaching their edge IT infrastructure. The sensors collect a range of data on temperature, heat index, humidity, dew points, fluid leaks, dust, smoke, and other environmental parameters and issue alerts when any element exceeds the threshold. This monitoring reduces the possibility of system downtime, increases the lifespan of business-critical equipment, and lowers the total cost of ownership across their hybrid IT infrastructure.

APC NetBotz for Physical Infrastructure Security

IT organizations need cost-effective new security capabilities that don’t strain budgets or human capital. Compute is quickly moving closer to where it is used: at the edge. This increases the risks of water damage, high temperature, humidity, fire, or other conditions bringing down business-critical applications. Intentional or malicious access events threaten compute availability and leave enterprises vulnerable to costly compliance violations.

Centralized data centers often have a full staff of IT experts monitoring equipment security. However, it isn’t usually feasible to do this for edge deployments — for example, a hospital may need IT equipment on every floor of the building. NetBotz makes it easy to monitor the physical security of that equipment so you can better protect your investment and ensure smooth operations with minimal downtime. It’s the last mile needed to create a complete physical security solution for your entire IT infrastructure extending to the edge.

  •  “What other features should you look for in a physical infrastructure security solution? One thatOffers a best-in-class user interface with flexible alerts that are easy to set up and manage
  • Offers products for the data center all the way to physical infrastructure at the edge as part of its architecture, so you can implement an end-to-end solution or choose options one by one over time
  • Delivers flexibility, enough to integrate a large number of various sensors to create a system personalized to your exact needs
  • Offers both on-premise and cloud-based products that help you manage thousands of devices from one  centralized location

Read Our Guide to Enhanced Cybersecurity Through Physical Infrastructure Security

The growth of edge computing creates the need for visibility and control of physical and digital assets wherever they reside. Luckily, best practices can help stretched IT departments and the organizations they serve continue to innovate to meet the challenges of a time of unprecedented upheaval even as they continue to maintain critical IT assets. We worked with NetworkWorld to create an interactive e-book to provide an overview of the current security landscape at the edge and offer proactive steps for securing and protecting assets that constitute your edge ecosystem.

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