Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Case Study: Protecting the datacentre

Keeping the servers safe at the Mercy Medical Centre.

Article comments

Mercy Medical Centre’s security wish list is far from atypical. The Baltimore healthcare provider wants to make sure that users access only the services and servers they require and that its datacentre servers remain secure and problem free. Nevertheless, it hasn't yet found quite the right technology combination.

Network access control (NAC) gear from ConSentry Networks handles the user-access-control piece, but the technology doesn't give Mercy Medical a way to address the additional, server-level security it would like. "We want to segregate the servers in the datacentre from one another," says Mark Rein, the centre’s senior IT director. The organisation needs this separation because it opens its datacentre servers to third-party vendors handling certain management and maintenance duties. "We want them to access just that one server or application, and not be able to see or talk to any of the other servers. It's like we need NAC, but at the server level."

This is not an extravagance. "The server is the primary attack-point nowadays, which means that the server is also a great jumping-off point," says Joel Snyder, a senior partner with Opus One and a Network World product tester. "As organisations have heterogeneous datacentres - mixes of Unix flavours, Windows, old mainframes - there are going to be issues with older systems that might not be patched or closely protected becoming infected and turning into attack vectors for other servers."

That can be an especially brutal problem for enterprises whose security defences line up at the edge of the datacentre. If an attack gets through to a server and rides over unprotected high-speed, server-to-server connections, the enterprise quickly gets compromised. Never mind the problems encountered when these servers exist in a virtualised environment.

"Most of our servers are virtual servers sitting in blade chassis. When you start looking at how these virtual servers are potentially talking or co-mingling over the hypervisor to one another, that's a tough problem. At this point, available tool sets are not really great," Rein says.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *