Aug 07 2023
Data Center

Data Center Solutions Rise to New Challenges

As federal agencies move to hybrid cloud solutions and make investments in their data center hardware, the focus is on more efficient, more secure infrastructure that guarantees uptime.

Now that data has become the backbone of governance, federal agencies are beginning to invest in overhauling their data center infrastructure.

As the push for data center modernization intensifies, attention is turning to hybrid cloud models and a focus on reliability, sustainability and enhanced security.

Tripp Lite by Eaton’s line of data center solutions, including uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, offer agencies improved efficiency and protection from cyberattacks.

“Federal agencies have a critical role where their systems must be resilient and up all the time, whether we’re talking about the military, disaster response or the IRS," says James Martin, global connectivity product manager at Eaton.

EXPLORE: Find the right Eaton power solutions for your organization.

Take a Look at a Data Center’s Power Infrastructure

Eaton’s power distribution and power backup solutions ensure that even if there are interruptions to a facility’s power, it will keep running to servers and other critical systems, helping agencies achieve better reliability, Martin says.

The company also has worked to improve the efficiency of its devices so agencies are not wasting power. Many of its products were only about 80 percent efficient two decades ago, meaning a 20 percent power loss, but now have reached 100 percent efficiency. All power going into such devices is delivered to an agency’s servers, Martin says.

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Power infrastructure is often overlooked as agencies begin reaping the benefits of digitalization and gain more control over and visibility into their environments, Martin adds.

“It’s extremely important,” he says. “If you don’t have your power infrastructure locked in, nothing else in your environment will work.”

Data Center Solutions Should Ensure Continuity During Cyber Incidents

Eaton’s Gigabit Network Card meets both and International Electrotechnical Commission 62443-4-2 cybersecurity standards and works with its Intelligent Power Manager to improve continuity.

In the event of power or environmental anomalies, the card triggers policies configured to keep mission-critical applications running, such as virtual machine relocation or automated disaster recovery actions.

“We’re selling reliability, almost like an insurance policy,” Martin says. “If something happens, this unit will take care of it and keep the power on for the period of time you’ve specified so that it becomes more of an abstract exercise.”

Agencies invest money in return for a certain level of uptime, he adds.

LEARN MORE: How to simplify your data center with hyperconverged infrastructure.

Cyberattacks also have the potential to interrupt service, and agencies are particular about the cybersecurity requirements for data center solutions. That includes encryption requirements, which is why Eaton incorporated the latest encryption algorithms into its various protocols, Martin says.

Eaton’s network cards integrate with email systems, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol or communications protocols such as Simple Network Management Protocol.

“If you’re not using the latest encryption standards, you could be vulnerable to something like a man-in-the-middle attack," Martin says.

Eaton products also support X.509 certificates, which bind an identity to a public key using a digital signature. The certificates prove that users are who they claim to be and make it “almost impossible” to access and change data, Martin says.

EXPLORE: Quantum cryptography challenges and opportunities for federal agencies.

Eaton Makes Firmware Updates Easy

While Eaton’s products do integrate with more advanced IT systems to provide agencies with more features around control and reliability, this also exposes them to potential attacks.

“UPS systems specifically have been identified as something malicious actors are going after because they know a lot of apps out in the field are connected to a network but may not have robust cybersecurity protections,” Martin says.

Eaton has a service-level agreement covering all types of vulnerabilities that are identified, resulting in the release of a firmware patch for any deemed critical. Agencies can easily update the firmware with tools for automated mass firmware updates.

The company has built a representational state transfer application programming interface that allows users to automatically update the firmware in a machine-to-machine interaction.

“Instead of the UPS systems being the weakest link in your chain of cybersecurity, they are now the strongest link in in that chain,” Martin says. “If there’s going to be an attack, it’s not going to be the network interface card on the UPS that allowed them into your system.”

UP NEXT: Despite patches, continue to monitor open-source code and software for vulnerabilities.

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