Lisa Rhodes, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Verne Global (, says:

Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on the major trends facing the data center industry throughout 2011. We have discussed both the importance of data center business efficiencies and the effects of energy efficiency monitoring and regulation. The last area we’d like to take a look at is mitigating and managing security risks within the data center as it begins to play a larger role as an outsourced solution in the cloud environment.

Whether it be outsourcing infrastructure, integrating with public cloud technologies or improving the mobile capabilities of the workforce, the CIO has many options for technical advancement of the corporate IT strategy. But it is ultimately the management’s responsibility to adapt the infrastructure to take on these technologies without risking the established best practices for business critical topics. Security tops the list.

For public, private, or hybrid cloud and even mobile computing solutions, the security teams must develop network security solutions that will be able to connect existing users with the new resources and tools. Debate in the industry as to exactly how secure the cloud actually is continues with no clear consensus coming forward at this point in time. On the one side, IBM’s CTO of Cloud Computing Strategy, Harold Moss, recently said the cloud could actually be more secure than a traditional IT environment for reasons ranging from companies paying more attention to security requirements overall to the perception that providers are better able to provide a higher level of security. On the other hand, at the CeBIT conference this week, concerns about data privacy and security concerns were cited as two major reasons why cloud adoption has not taken off yet in Europe.

For outsourced data center solutions, the security team will need a provider that has a clear service level agreement (SLA) and open book accounting of security principles that it implements while delivering the outsourced services. This appears to be one area where most in the industry can agree. The need for an SLA that guarantees specific uptime, service response, bandwidth, and physical access protections is an essential item on the IT manager’s checklist as they are shopping for a data center solution in 2011.

There is also a different element of security that is gaining more prominence within the security discussion and that is the actual physical security of the data center itself. Vodafone recently experienced this as one of their more remote data center facilities was recently broken into and equipment stolen, resulting in a service loss for customers. CIOs don’t want service loss for customers for any reason, let alone one where facilities are broken into and equipment is stolen. No CIO wants to lay awake at night worrying about every remote location within their network that can be susceptible to any sort of physical destruction or tampering.

Without forward thinking on security solutions, many of the great ideas of 2011 will be completely inaccessible to the revenue generators. Once the location and the energy source are network ready and secured, the CIO can go about filling the data center and using it to best accomplish the company’s business mission.

Verne Global is a regular contributor on Data Center Post