The amount of data in the world has ballooned over the past decade. In the heyday of the pandemic, the amount of data created and replicated reached a new high. The growth was higher than expected due to increased demand.

As people flock towards remote work and study, the next data centre frontier looks set to loom large upon the horizon. During the pandemic, the need for rapid access to information was a big challenge for data centres. The pandemic underlined the important role of data centres not only in the tech industry, but also in the role it plays in the daily lives of ordinary users.

A data centre is a facility that centralises an organisation’s IT operations and equipment for the purposes of storing, processing and disseminating data. Since they house an organisation’s most critical and proprietary assets, data centres are vital to the continuity of daily operations.

Consequently, the security and reliability of data centres and their information is now a top priority for every organisation.

Modern data centres are very different now to what they were even just a stone’s throw back in time. Due to flexible work and study options, infrastructure has shifted from traditional on-premises physical servers to virtual networks.

Virtual networks, in particular, have to support applications and workloads across pools of physical infrastructure and into a multi-cloud environment.

At its simplest, however, a data centre is infrastructure that organisations use to house their critical applications and data. Data centres do vary in size; from a small server room to groups of geographically distributed buildings. Regardless of their size, they all share one thing in common: they are a critical asset.

Companies, governments and institutions invest in and deploy the latest advancements in data centre networking, compute and storage technologies. The key components of a data center design include: routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers and application-delivery controllers.

Some of the most common threats to data centres include: DoS (Denial of Service), data theft or alteration, unauthorised use of computing resources as well as identity theft.

While data security and privacy both involve protecting data, they are different. Data security entails controlling access to data. For instance, a data security policy may put limits on who is allowed to view and use particular information. This reduces the chance of suffering a data security breach.

Data privacy, on the other hand, involves more strategic decisions around who gets access to certain kinds of data and under what circumstances.

The CERN Datacenter. Image Credit: Hugovanmeijeren

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