Distributed computing is on the rise, especially with the growth of the remote workforce. Unfortunately, distributed computing presents an enhanced security risk that requires a more robust data security strategy.
Do you know all the risks inherent in distributed computing systems—and how to develop an effective data security strategy to mitigate those risks?
Security Risks of Distributed Computing
In distributed computing, data and services are spread across multiple connected servers. These servers can be on-premises in different geographic locations or located in the cloud. (An O’Reilly survey indicates that 90% of companies store at least some of their data in the cloud.)
By employing multiple servers in multiple locations, distributed computing carries a higher degree of risk than traditional computing architecture. Each distributed location represents a unique target for outside parties — the more locations, the greater your risk. If cybersecurity is weak at one location, it compromises all other locations, no matter how strong their security.
Unauthorized users can also seek to intercept data and communications transferred between distributed locations. Data and communications in transit are notoriously difficult to secure, especially using traditional security methods, which make them tempting targets for third parties. Inadvertent access in communications can result in these third parties obtaining legitimate credentials that can be used to access your network and stored data.
In short, distributed computing by its nature is inherently more risky than self-contained IT systems. Data must be protected at each distributed location and in-transit between locations.
Creating a Data Security Strategy for Distributed Computing
It’s important that you tailor your organization’s data security strategy for the specific needs of distributed computing. Your strategy should focus on protecting both multiple data centers and the data transferred to, from, and between them.
Here are key issues that your data security strategy should address.
Distributed computing systems are seldom static. One of the advantages of distributed computing is that it’s easily adaptable to changes in workload, workflow, and data types.
Just as your distributed computing system should evolve as your business needs change, your strategy should also adapt to those systemic changes. This means, as you’re defining your data security strategy, you need to anticipate near- and long-term changes in your IT strategy. You need to anticipate and be able to adapt to changes in workload, applications, distributed locations, and more.
Assume That Incidents Will Happen
You can’t develop a data security strategy in the hope that the third parties will leave you alone. On the contrary, you must be prepared for any unwanted incidents that may arise, so your data is always as secure as it can possibly be..
Preparation should drive your data security strategy. Hope for the best while being prepared for issues before they happen.
Your data security strategy should address:
- Most likely types of incidents
- How to protect against those incidents
- How to stop and recover from any incidents that occur
Your plan should take into account that outside parties may target one or all of your data centers, as well as data and communications in transit.
Choose Security Strategies That Can Migrate to the Cloud
Most companies that employ distributing computing currently use some form of cloud storage or plan to include cloud storage in the future. Because of this, your data security strategy should include a cloud component to protect your data in and in-transit to and from the cloud. There’s a reason why 84% of IT professionals worry about cloud security — it’s inherently risky moving data across the Internet to and from cloud storage.
Keep Security Independent of the Infrastructure
In a traditional IT environment, it’s common to base an organization’s data security strategy on the existing infrastructure. Distributing computing, however, is more flexible and easier to adapt as an organization’s needs change. Virtual servers can be put into place and applications deployed at will, changing the entire computing environment.
For this reason, your distributed computing data security strategy should be totally independent of any specific infrastructure. Your security strategy needs to be as flexible as your distributed computing environment. It’s a matter of devising a data security strategy that is infrastructure neutral, so that it can adapt to any changes you make in your IT strategy.
Integrate Security Into DevOps
Your distributed computing data security strategy needs to be fully integrated with your organization’s DevOps practices. DevOps is based on agile development methods designed to accelerate the pace of application deployment, and your security strategy needs to be just as agile. By integrating data security into DevOps, you can maintain a rapid deployment strategy while fully protecting all related data.
Finally, because distributed computing relies on data being transferred between multiple data centers, you need to employ a robust encryption scheme that protects that data both at rest and in-transit. This means using end-to-end encryption to ensure that data in transit remains unreadable even if intercepted. End-to-end encryption can also protect your company’s communications and all the collaborative work done by remote workers.
Turn to Wickr for Data Security with End-to-End Encryption
When you want to protect data and communications in a distributed computing environment, turn to the security experts at Wickr. Our secure communications and collaboration solution employs robust end-to-end encryption and other military-grade security to ensure that text, voice, and video communications, as well as shared data files, cannot be accessed by unauthorized users in-transit between data centers. Wickr’s security platform is also ideal for protecting the communications and collaborations of your remote workforce.
Contact us today to learn more about how Wickr can help you develop a robust data security strategy for a distributed computing environment.