“Security starts with the front door,” our parents would remind us. “Always check to make sure you locked the front door behind you when you return to the house!” A simplistic yet highly effective piece of advice given with the best of intent. Today, houses have many access points and to help us, we have monitoring devices on all access points linked to a single panel and external agencies monitoring that security panel. To improve upon this, we have smartphone apps to monitor and manage these, which in turn introduces passwords to access the app. So, the more sophisticated we get, the more opportunity we create for those with malicious intent. Nothing though, can be as diligent as walking from point to point to ensure it is secure.
When it comes to our data centers, it would be an oversimplification to remind data center managers to check the front doors. And yet many doors exist and no matter the policies laid down by those in charge, it would be remiss of me not to remind everyone about just how easy it has become to penetrate even the most impenetrable of establishments. Walls? Layers? Depth of defense? All looks good on PowerPoint slides but when it comes to the routines of daily operations, how secure are we really? Revisiting the house analogy, on a windy night, the windows may periodically set off the alarm so we take the path of least resistance and disable the entire alarm system, therefore negating the system’s capability because of our complacency that we are safe anyway. So too is it when an unexpected message pops up onto a console that is hidden among thousands of lines of messages. Our assumption would be that, if it is important, there is a rule in place to trigger an alarm of some type to deal with the issue.
DataExpress is in the business of providing secure, managed file transfers. In our previous post to this blog, IN THE MIX; DATAEXPRESS SEES PATH FOR FUTURE NONSTOP AND OPEN PLATFORM COOPERATION we began with the observation that data centers as we know them today rarely exist as homogeneous entities. Since the very first phone line snaked its way into the data center, it presented challenges for all involved. Not the least being, naturally enough, who is on the other end of the line? And yes, who else may be listening in on the data flowing back and forth. We closed one paragraph in that post with the recommendation that when there are connections to the outside world we would prescribe a Secure Gateway module to sit inside the DMZ to protect the core.
For some time now DataExpress has been posting to this blog with updates that focused considerable attention on the management and automation aspects of file transfer. We have written that through the Summer holiday period, many CIOs slept a lot easier at night knowing that the fully-automated capabilities of DataExpress meant that files, in some cases tens of thousands of files, would be moved to their correct destination at exactly the right time and that they could rely on the proven management properties of DataExpress to take care of it all. And yet, DataExpress is a product supporting secure managed file transfer and with the ever-increasing press coverage of data breaches, it is the security components of Data Express that are becoming most important for DataExpress customers.
“It is not like we took our eyes away from security or lessened the efforts we expended to ensure files could be transferred securely,” said CEO Billy Whittington. “Rather, it is more a case of us knowing that the more files moving, the more security risk, and this is a situation in which the management components of DataExpress have always played a vital role, making sure that only those that are authorized to see, access or transfer a file are able to do so.”
We have all become conditioned to routinely changing our passwords on our personal systems and smart devices. But how often do we check and recheck our settings on the software we run that interacts with the outside world and who do we get to look over our shoulders? At the Enterprise level, the sheer volume of products requiring adjustment means that occasionally doors are left inadvertently open. Trying to continuously update and implement corporate, industry and agency standards as they change, while trying to keep them “impact-transparent” to your customers becomes increasingly more difficult.
“When it comes to securing the movement of files over the wire, we partnered with comForte for SSL / SSH support but there is still a lot more that is involved when it comes to using DataExpress,” added Whittington, “configurations are very important and to this end, you will find in DataExpress settings included specifically to tighten security and ensure the doors are all closed and monitored”.
DataExpress began as a services company before it launched its first product in the secure, managed file transfer marketplace. The knowledge built up over time is reflected not only in features within DataExpress, but in the expertise that the company can bring to bear whenever issues of security are involved. With as much emphasis as is placed on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) as there is today, when files are being moved to external agencies, who really is in control – the client or the server? In my house it matters little as ultimately, it’s up to me to lock the front door. DataExpress can secure the file transfers executing in any data center, and with as many NonStop customers as there are contemplating changing the system to a NonStop X system with new levels of operating systems and middleware, the potential to adequately protect the data center is a likely outcome so if you have any thoughts about where exposures may lie, please give us a call. We will be only too happy to walk through your house and make sure file transfer access is bolted down tight!