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During the past few years, with the pandemic forcing many companies and employees to operate from home, the data centre market has accelerated at a much faster pace. According to a Data Centre Europe report, the European data centre market is expected to grow by up to 46% in the next 4 years. The digitalisation of the workplace is now pushing the growth of data centres, so we wanted to know with this boost in the market, what are the future challenges in security facing data centres?

One of the most prevalent issues facing data centres with such a high growth over the next 4 years will be the increased likelihood of physical break-ins and unauthorised intrusions. Only 5 days ago, an attempted robbery at a Cryptocurrency Data Centre in Abkhazia led to a gunfight. Even within low crime-rated areas like Iceland, a hub for data centres and cryptocurrency mining, saw a £1.5 million heist taking place. This data centre even had a security guard on hand, however, they had taken a nap whilst an individual broke onto site and stole items worth up to £388,000 for the hardware alone not including the Bitcoin. According to the article, this attack was the fifth cryptocurrency data centre in Iceland to be hit in two months. Human error is a very common thing, mistakes happen but when it comes to data, there must be systems in place that work in conjunction with manned stations to prevent these attacks. Therefore, physical security for data centres is such an important part and shouldn’t be overlooked on any security strategy. If a physical security measure had been put in place that would delay or deter these intruders, then it could have given the security guard time to prevent any attack.

  • Another challenge data centres could be facing is the rise in the metaverse and what that could cause in terms of civil unrest. As Facebook revealed its new branding, going by the name Meta as a whole, it makes you wonder whether the public is ready for this level of data to be held? Even though the metaverse is still in its infancy stage, Facebook is spending millions of dollars on technologies like virtual and augmented realities that would influence this universe. However, with such grand plans comes the need to store masses upon masses of data from individuals. The problem with this comes with the fact, Facebook is no stranger to controversy around data privacy, with the most recent scandal happening in 2018 with Cambridge Analytica. Could this cause civil unrest or even just individuals protesting this by attacking data centres?

  • This has been seen by the introduction of a new breed of potential attackers, as opposed to the traditional thieves and international terrorists. The new type of attacker is now motivated by anti-governmental beliefs and even internet conspiracies. Back in April 2020, a plot to bomb an Amazon Web Services site in Virginia was intercepted and disengaged with the man being arrested. His motive was to ‘kill off about 70% of the Internet’ spurred on by extremist beliefs or conspiracies. More than 70% of Chief Security Officers and Physical Security Decision Makers recently surveyed said physical-threat activity has “dramatically increased” since the beginning of 2020. More than one-third of respondents said physically protecting corporate data was their biggest security challenge… Just under one-third said a growing amount of physical threats and company backlash spurred by political unrest kept them up at night.” Even if these data centres are not political targets; the pandemic, political stand points and internet conspiracies alongside economic disruptions, have exacerbated these physical threats and caused data centres to be a high-profile target for attacks.

Data centre breaches alone cost £1.3million on average and that’s not to mention the loss of data and major costs of repair if terror attacks or robberies cause damage on site to both perimeters and the infrastructure. With such major security challenges forecast to surface for the data centre industry, is there something that can be done to detect, deter and delay these problems and minimise damage?

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