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Intelligent Data Storage Contributions to Cyber Security – Part 1

Audie Hittle, Federal CTO, Emerging Technologies Division, EMC Corporation

June 23, 2015  |  Data Center  •  Networking  •  Software-defined Networking

The pace of data center evolution, accelerated by extensive consolidations, is driven by leaders hungry for efficiency and innovation. I was recently invited to meet with a large military data center team, where the original meeting objective was to share a technical overview of our latest innovations in scale-out network attached storage. However, upon commencing the meeting, I asked the government team what their current interests, priorities, and concerns were. Without fail, all of them indicated they were spending about 90 percent of their time dealing with cyber security matters – effectively superseding other data center responsibilities, such as data storage management.

Upon hearing their challenges, I opted to begin our “data center of the future” talk by sharing new information on how intelligent data storage can contribute to cyber security and address a variety of mission-critical cyber security situations. Conceptually similar to Software Defined Networking (SDN), intelligent data storage is based upon Software Defined Storage (SDS), which is data storage infrastructure that is managed and automated by intelligent software, such as an operating system, rather than by the storage hardware.

Intelligent data storage has the ability to enhance operational flexibility and resiliency in ways not possible by controller-head managed, RAID-based storage systems. SDS can simultaneously provide greater speed for cyber operations and greater data storage efficiency enabling deeper and broader Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) forensic analysis. In addition, its policy-based management capabilities and distinctive ways to store and secure the data offer inherent data protection and audit compliance with FISMA, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and SEC17(a)-4 requirements.

Distinct from the more traditional cyber security concepts and techniques, typically associated with areas like network security, intrusion detection, and virus prevention/control, intelligent data storage primarily supports a rapidly evolving trend of “cyber resiliency.” This trend is one frequently associated with enabling organizations to “fight through” cyber attacks. While this is a concept often associated with the military, it is increasingly relevant for all government agencies and commercial entities.

In the second part of this blog series, I’ll dive a bit deeper into some of the key features and functions of intelligent data storage that directly support cyber resiliency missions.

Audie Hittle, Federal CTO, Emerging Technologies Division, EMC Corporation

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