Secure distributed data storage is the wave of the future for corporate IT. It’s all about spreading the risk by storing data across multiple servers. Distributing data across a network, either on-premise or in the cloud, speeds up data transfers and reduces the potential harm that can result from individual equipment failure.
How should you think of secure distributed data storage? There are five ways to consider how it works and what it does.
What is Secure Distributed Data Storage?
Secure distributed data storage is a system that stores data, not in a central location but dispersed between multiple physical locations. Data can be distributed across multiple nodes of a physical network or across multiple cloud servers of a cloud service provider. It’s the polar opposite of an old-school client-server network. Distributed data storage eliminates the central server and distributes not only the data but also the risk involved with storing that data.
Most distributed data storage systems replicate data in multiple locations. This increases the reliability of the system, as any damaged or deleted data still exists elsewhere in the system. In addition, data can be located closer to its users, thus speeding up data transfers and increasing efficiency. And, by encrypting the distributed data—both at rest and as it travels between servers and users—it’s proven secure against today’s numerous cyber threats.
Why is Secure Distributed Data Storage Necessary?
There is a staggering amount of data in existence today. According to IDC, companies and individuals around the world created more than 64 zettabytes (ZB) of data in 2020, the last year such data was available. That’s 1.7MB of new data created every second—an incredible amount of data that needs to be managed and protected.
Spreading data across multiple machines instead of centralizing data in large data centers breaks down that large amount of data into smaller, more management chunks. It also reduces the potential damage that could occur if a central data center fell victim to a natural or man-made disaster. If a storm or fire or cyberattack hits a single node of a distributed storage system, the other nodes pick up the slack and little harm is done. If that same storm or fire or cyberattack hits a centralized server, an organization’s entire data store could be compromised.
How to Think of Secure Distributed Data Storage
There are many ways you can think about secure distributed storage, all of them positive. Here are five of the most important ways you should consider secure distributed data storage.
1. It’s a Secure Environment
Securing multiple smaller nodes against unauthorized access is easier than trying to guard a single very large data repository. By fortifying all the file paths, applications, and ports used in a distributed storage system, you create a very secure environment for your data.
2. It’s Fully Authenticated
Another way that a distributed storage system protects its data is by using authentication and an authorization layer. To access the data stored on a distributed system, users must be registered and authenticated. That typically means signing in via multi-factor authentication (MFA). According to Anne Neuberger, the government’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies, MFA can stop 80%-90% of unwanted intrusions, especially those caused by phishing and other social engineering schemes.
3. It’s Zero-Trust in Practice
In addition, secure distributed data storage systems significantly limit the number of users who have access to each file. Instead of allowing universal access, or even attempting to limit access by user level or job title, zero-trust security allows access only to those users who need to use a particular file. In essence, zero-trust says no user can be blindly trusted and every user has to prove that they need access. It’s particularly important when remote workers in less-secure environments need to access valuable data.
4. It’s Replicated Data
Distributed data systems typically replicate data in multiple locations. That might mean locating copies of much-used files in locations closer to the employees that use them or copying bits and pieces of system data in different network nodes. This replication provides a layer of safety in case a server or node goes down or data gets accidentally deleted. It also enhances security, because outside entities don’t know how to put together all the pieces of an organization’s data puzzle. Just because they get access to a piece of data doesn’t mean they know how to assemble it with other pieces of data to make it useful.
5. It’s Data Encryption at Rest and In Transit
Finally, think of secure distributed data storage as a real-world example of why end-to-end encryption is important—and effective. All the data within the distributed data needs to be encrypted in case it’s accessed by unauthorized users. That encryption needs to protect not only the data stored in distributed locations but also data in transit between locations or being accessed by employees. The only way to protect all the data in a distributed system is with end-to-end encryption that keeps all data encrypted, even as it’s being transferred between nodes or to employee devices.
How Wickr Helps Secure Your Distributed Data Storage
To fully secure your organization’s data you need end-to-end encryption. Wickr’s secure collaboration solution employs robust end-to-end encryption and other military-grade security to encrypt not just the files your employees share but also the text, voice, and video communications they depend on for effective collaboration. If your organization employs distributed data storage, make sure you secure it with Wickr’s secure end-to-end encryption.
Contact us today to learn more about how Wickr can secure your organization’s distributed data storage.