We all know the benefits of Cloud – flexibility with subscription, scalability, fast implementation time, access from anywhere etc but what do you know about the data centre that is housing your information? It is the brain of a company and the place where the most critical processes are run. Once you move to Cloud, data centres do all the hard work for you, however some work harder than others at safeguarding your data.
From a starting point a data centre must be a well-constructed building that essentially houses servers, storage devices and cables, with an internet connection. It must also have a large amount of equipment for supplying power, cooling and automatic fire extinguishing systems. So far so good.
But what about data protection, what happens in a natural disaster or power cut, who has access to it and what about security? What is the situation with back ups and what protection is there from hackers? All legitimate concerns and certainly questions you should be asking when looking at providers, their facilities and relevant certifications.
At SAP, their data centre‘s are monitored around the clock in a location agreed with the customer. Single-person access and mantrap systems provide access only to authorised individuals. Technicians can then enter special rooms using custom-configured ID cards. High-sensitivity areas require authentication by means of biometric scans.
An intrusion detection system monitors incoming data and identifies suspicious activities, while firewalls made by different manufacturers protect the data in the data centre. Data and backup files are exchanged with customers in an encrypted format or transmitted via secure fiber-optic cables.
Should the multiple-redundancy power supply system fail, batteries are automatically and immediately activated and supply electricity for up to 15 minutes. Within this time frame, emergency power diesel generators are started up. They can then supply power to the data centre for an extended period.
The data centre consists of 100,000 metric tons of reinforced concrete and rests on 480 concrete pillars, each extending 16 meters into the ground. The exterior walls are 30 centimeters thick and made of reinforced concrete. The server rooms are further surrounded by 3 concrete walls. This design provides effective protection against storms and even a small airplane crash.
Backups are always located in the same jurisdiction as the data that is used in day-to-day operations, but for security reasons, the two are physically separated.
The data center is subdivided into many fire compartments. In addition, thousands of fire detectors and aspirating smoke detectors (ASD) monitor all rooms. The ASDs pick up on the emission of specific gases that stem from overheating electronic components and set off a preliminary alarm. Should a fire break out, the affected room is flooded with extinguishing gas (INERGEN) and the fire is smothered. Sprinklers are not used, as water would destroy sensitive electronic devices. As a last resort, however, water or foam may still be used as an extinguishing method by the fire department, which is automatically alerted to the emergency.
Every year, SAP invests more than €500,000 to audit the SAP cloud. This expenditure is necessary to meet the legally mandated audit assistance obligation.
The SAP cloud is inspected several times a year by external auditors, in accordance with various standards (including ISO 27001, ISAE-3402, and SSAE-16) to ensure that the security organisation as well as all technical and organisational measures are implemented and reflect state-of-the-art technology. These certificates and audit reports may be shared with customers, although this may require signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). To see the steps to certification click here.
With a growing percentage of on-premise spending being replaced by cloud computing, it is important to ensure that you not only have the support, but also the best data centre available. You are effectively removing your responsibility for your on-premise hardware to someone else’s data centre. They are then responsible for your company’s data and what happens to it so be very sure they have your best interests at heart and can best protect your business continuity.
To see all of this in action, take a tour of the SAP St. Leon-Rot, Germany data centre
Culex is an accredited SAP Partner, specialising in the implementation, support and development of SAP Business One since 2003. Our extensive business experience and software knowledge enables us to consistently deliver a service of the highest quality, which in turn enables our clients to maximise their return from their software investment. For further information about Culex Ltd, call 08000 199 420 or visit www.culex.co.uk