What is Infrastructure Security?
Infrastructure security is the practice of protecting critical systems and assets against physical and cyber threats. From an IT standpoint, this typically includes hardware and software assets such as end-user devices, data center resources, networking systems, and cloud resources.
Benefits of infrastructure security
Enterprises depend on their technology assets to maintain operations, so protecting technology infrastructure is protecting the organization itself. Proprietary data and intellectual property (IP) provide many companies significant competitive advantages in the market, and any loss of or disruption of access to this information can have profound negative impacts to a company’s profitability.
Common security threats to IT infrastructure
Cyber threats to technology infrastructure range from phishing attempts and ransomware attacks to distributed denial of service (DDoS) exploits and Internet of Things (IoT) botnets. Physical dangers include natural disasters such as fires and floods, civil unrest, utility outages, and theft or vandalism of hardware assets. Any of these have the potential to cause business disruption, damage an organization’s public reputation, and have significant financial consequences.
Options for securing IT infrastructure
Typical elements of physical protection include access control, surveillance systems, security guards, and perimeter security. To protect their digital perimeter, organizations will implement firewalls, penetration testing, network monitoring, virtual private networks (VPNs), encryption technologies, and training programs to teach employees how to identify and respond to phishing emails and other attempts to steal their network credentials.
Best practices for infrastructure security
Increased interconnectivity and the increased adoption of cloud services, microservices, and software components across different cloud platforms and at corporate network edges make securing technology infrastructure both more complex and more important than ever. Adopting zero-trust security architectures is one way enterprises are addressing this challenge. Zero trust is a philosophical approach to identity and access management, establishing that no user or workload is trusted by default. It requires all users, devices, and application instances to prove they are who or what they present themselves to be and that they are authorized to access the resources they seek.
Training employees on password and credential security also plays a significant role in protecting IT infrastructure. Often, the human element can be the weakest link in an organization’s security strategy, and the relentless pace of intrusion attempts means even a brief and seemingly minor lapse in the security perimeter can cause significant damage.
And because new types of threats can arise at any time, or disasters can have greater-than-anticipated effects, a robust and frequent backup strategy provides a vital safety net for business continuity. With data volumes steadily growing, enterprises should look for a data protection solution that ensures continuous availability via simple, fast recovery from disruptions, globally consistent operations, and seamless app and data mobility across multiple clouds.
Why is infrastructure security important?
As more business is done digitally and enterprises increasingly rely on data to inform critical business decisions, protecting the resources that make these activities possible takes on greater importance. And with more devices having access to corporate networks, more users accessing valuable enterprise intellectual property (IP) using unsecured public networks in locations around the world, and more data being generated and consumed across edges and clouds, many organizations have an expanding attack surface vulnerable to threats.
Criminals, hacktivists, hostile national-state actors, terrorists, and others are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target organizations of all sizes around the world and across industry sectors. And not all security threats have malicious intent; human error and natural disasters can also pose dangers to the integrity of an organization’s technology infrastructure. To safeguard business continuity, having a strategy in place to address both cyber and physical security across all key systems and assets, including those at the edge and in the cloud, is a critical requirement to operate in today’s digitally connected world.
What are the different levels of infrastructure security?
Many enterprise IT infrastructure security frameworks will address four types, or levels, of security.
As more data is generated and stored in more locations (core data centers, colocations, multiple clouds, and edges), protecting this data becomes more complex. The increasing number of devices connect to enterprise networks due to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, IoT adoption, and more, meaning that a growing number of endpoints, or entry points into enterprise networks, must be protected. Some common enterprise endpoint security measures include URL filtering, anti-virus tools, sandboxing, secure email gateways, and endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools. Data encryption technologies also help protect data by encoding it so that only users with the correct decryption key may access it.
Outdated software can contain vulnerabilities that cyber attackers can exploit to gain access to IT systems. Ensuring software and firmware updates are distributed and applied across the enterprise network, known as patching, helps close security holes as well as provide new functionality, performance improvements, and bug fixes for enterprise applications.
A firewall typically provides the first line of defense in network security. It serves as a barrier between an enterprise’s trusted network and other untrusted networks, such as public Wi-Fi. By monitoring incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of rules, it only allows network traffic that has been defined in the security policy to access resources on the trusted network. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) also protects the enterprise network by requiring two or more forms of verification before allowing access to network resources.
The most robust cyber protection cannot protect your technology assets from physical theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. Data recovery plans that incorporate offsite backups located in different geographies are also a part of a physical security strategy.
HPE solutions for infrastructure security
HPE offers silicon-to-cloud security features for your critical enterprise technology infrastructure. Our approach begins at the foundation—in the supply chain and rooted in the silicon. We continuously attest every level of infrastructure and every layer of the software stack and across the network. And to help you navigate increasing complexity and stay ahead of emerging threats, we build in zero-trust technologies and solutions that dynamically authenticate data and applications.
HPE has one of the most secure supply chains in the world and has built upon this with the HPE Trusted Supply Chain initiative. It offers customers, particularly those in the United States public sector and government agencies, additional supply chains and options to purchase certified, made-in-the-USA servers. We assign vetted HPE employees to the facilities producing Trusted Supply Chain products, making it improbable for any unauthorized or rogue firmware or components to be inserted in our compute products.
The HPE-exclusive silicon root of trust provides a series of trusted handshakes from lowest level firmware to BIOS and software to ensure a known good state. From this silicon root of trust server design to specific networking and storage options, HPE has built-in security features to help prevent, detect, and recover from cyber attacks. It has been recognized for its ability to reduce risk by insurers in the Cyber CatalystSM program created by Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management. Cyber Catalyst is a cybersecurity evaluation program that enables organizations that adopt its designated technologies to be considered for enhanced terms and conditions on cyber insurance policies from participating insurers.
And Project Aurora extends our silicon root of trust to deliver an embedded zero-trust security platform that continuously and automatically protects infrastructure, operating systems, software platforms, and workloads without signatures, significant performance trade-offs, or lock-in. It helps ensure the value and fidelity of your infrastructure, platform, and workloads by continuously validating critical components to identify changes caused by malicious code in the operating environment.