Monthly Archives

September 2017

Cybersecurity Is On The Tenant As Much As The Data Center

By | Data Centers

Did you make the move to a data center or a cloud computing environment and let out a sigh of relief when your IT infrastructure management was taken over by a data center instead of housed within your organization? Maybe you thought, “Finally! I’m done with having to deal with security threats!” We hate to break it to you, but no, you’re not.

While it’s true that data centers do have a responsibility to provide a secure environment, don’t make the mistake of thinking the data center’s security measures will be enough to protect your business from hacking and other cyber threats. Chances are good, they won’t be enough to prevent and thwart attackers. Why not? Because they aren’t intended to.

Safeguarding Your Business Data

Data centers definitely have systems in place to protect the security of the center itself but enterprise and application owners also have a responsibility to protect their own data, applications, and operating systems that are housed within the data center.

Since many cyberattacks come from applications and then branch out from there, all it takes is one mistakenly opened email for an attack to gain a foothold and exploit your network. In fact, the threat could come from inside the data center itself, if a virus or malware enters another business’ network and then infiltrates the data center and makes its way to your network. This is all the more reason to adopt cyber safeguards for your business on your own.

Businesses need to have appropriate policies and safeguards in place to protect their information and data themselves. Policies should include:

  • Employee training and awareness. Educate your employees on best practices to minimize cyber risks. Cover things like sharing sensitive information with outsiders, phishing attacks, downloading malware, and what to do if a laptop or company-issued device is lost or stolen.
  • Vetting of service providers with access to sensitive information and/or systems. Do your research and vet third-party vendors and service providers who may have access to sensitive data. Include confidentiality and security obligations in vendor agreements.
  • An incident response plan in place and ready to go. Have an incident response plan in place that you can enact as soon as a breach is discovered.
  • Work with your data center. Review your data center’s physical and cyber security procedures to understand where the data center’s responsibility ends and yours begins. Work with the center to ensure all areas of risk are protected.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that outsourcing a function, in this case, IT infrastructure, means you’re absolved of all care and responsibility for the function, but when it comes to sensitive business and customer data there is no such thing as being too cautious.

Tips on Choosing a Colocation Data Center

By | Data Centers, Emergency Preparedness

If you are new to colocation, you might be wondering just how you’re supposed to choose a colocation data center. On the face of it, colos may seem to be all the same, but in reality, every data center is different, which is why you’ve got to do some research to find the best fit for your needs.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing A Colocation Data Center

  1. Does it meet our business needs? First things first, does the colocation site fit your business needs? Have you even identified what those needs are yet? Make sure the site has the technology to support your business, but also take into account the site’s physical location (this is important if you plan to use the colo site for disaster recovery needs) and if it can accommodate your future plans (transitioning to the cloud, managed services, high-density environment, etc.)
  2. What’s the uptime guarantee? Service agreements can be written in ways that protect the colo if outages occur. What does your agreement say about outages? Does the site allow themselves a certain number of planned outages each year? If the answer is yes, that means you don’t have 100% guaranteed uptime. For some businesses and applications, this is acceptable; for others, it is not. What does it mean for your business?
  3. Does it support our disaster recovery and business continuity plans? If you’re looking at colo sites, you’ve got a primary data center already up and running somewhere. Your colocation data center should match or provide better power, cooling, and networking than your primary site if you want to ensure business continuity during outages and emergencies. Ask about on-site workspace that your team can use for disaster recovery testing.
  4. What is the center’s level of compliance? Even if the center says it has a certain level of Tier compliance or is Uptime-certified, double check this. Ask to see proof of SSAE 16 audits, PCI, or Cybertrust certification and make sure they provide third-party audits for added transparency. Check the site’s physical security too. What areas are covered by cameras? What are security procedures? Who has access to the servers?
  5. What kinds of managed services are available? Managed services free up your own IT staff to focus on supporting business objectives, not infrastructure maintenance. Managed services means your team doesn’t have to trek to the data center for minor issues and ensure the colo staff will keep the infrastructure operating smoothly.

Changing data centers, even colocation sites, is a major undertaking. You don’t want to be doing it every time your contract ends. Take some time on the front end to make sure the colocation site is right for your business needs – current and future – to find a location that will serve you well for years to come.

Where Do Old Wind Turbine Blades Go To Die?

By | Equipment Disposal, Green, recycle power equipment

With wind turbines estimated to last between 20-25 years, some of the earliest turbines are coming due for decommissioning. As these aged turbines start to need replacing, there’s a question of what to do with them. Fortunately, many parts of the wind turbine are recyclable. The foundation, tower, gearbox and generator can all be recycled. The blades, however? That’s another story.

The Trouble With Turbine Blades

Turbine blades are designed for lightweight, aerodynamic performance, not recyclability. They are usually made from composite materials that can’t be separated into their component parts and recycled. At least not for now; though there is progress being made on that front.

Until wind turbine blades can be consistently and easily recycled, turbine owners have to find other ways to dispose of the enormous blades.

Post-Turbine Uses For Wind Turbine Blades

So, where do old wind turbine blades go to die? Turns out, many of them find new life and uses:

  • Architecture and Structures. The Netherlands has seen blades used in architecture and design such as seating, bus shelters, or even playgrounds.
  • New Composite Materials. Broken down wind turbine blades are being explored as a new composite material, similar to wood composite. Possible uses include flooring, road barriers, and more.
  • Fuel. Germany has the only industrial-scale wind turbine blade reprocessing factory in the world. The facility is exploring ways to use broken down blades as fuel by mixing fragments with other waste materials to be used in cement production.
  • Reuse. We can hardly talk about recycling without mentioning reuse. Some larger blades can be cut down and re-purposed as smaller blades for community turbines.

As more turbines are replaced, we hope that even more innovative ideas and practices will arise that will keep the blades out of landfills. There’s also a strong likelihood that new materials will be developed that are more recyclable or biodegradable, making waste less of a concern when an old turbine comes down.