Data centers must demonstrate compliance with industry standard guidelines. This quick checklist can help data centers develop data compliance strategies to ensure the security of their customers’ data and maintain high operational standards.
Data centers are responsible for secure data processing on behalf of an organization’s customers. A single data failure or breach can destroy the business that relies on that data, but it can also be catastrophic for a data center facility.
An effective compliance strategy can help any data center secure the sensitive data it processes. The compliance strategy then becomes the basis for a highly available service and drives long-term customer satisfaction.
Facilities that want to develop a data center compliance strategy can use this checklist as a starting point.
1. Align data center and IT teams
data security is often with interested or involved groups within the organization. True data center compliance requires alignment across the business. Data center administrators must align or liaise with customer compliance teams to ensure full compliance and coverage.
Administrators must obtain approval from senior leaders in relevant teams and explain how the relationship between departments works. They must determine the role each team and member plays in the strategy. This transparency increases the chance of acceptance and maintains compliance with processes and procedures.
2. Explore compliance options
Different compliance standards have different guidelines. For example, if a data center processes healthcare data, it must be HIPAA certified and demonstrate compliance for patient privacy. If it processes e-commerce data, such as online stores or financial transactions of any kind, it must comply with PCI DSS 3.2 standards to protect transmitted financial data, such as credit card information.
3. Learn compliance audit schemes
Data centers are constantly learning to scrutinize their operations and infrastructure. Minor audits and updates to ongoing day-to-day processes maintain operational readiness, and deep, intensive audits verify data compliance. Third-party auditors conduct most compliance audits annually, meaning that if a facility has multiple certifications, then multiple annual audits are required.
Both data center staff and customers need to know the schedule for these audits, as they can impact the facility’s regular operations. An organization must include this information in every service agreement in customer contracts to ensure operational transparency.
4. Understand Compliance Evidence
Data centers can demonstrate their compliance by publishing the certificates and certifications they receive. What they have to publish depends on the specific audit guideline. External audit services issue these certificates on behalf of the governing body and regularly review data center operations and infrastructure.
The certifications that data centers require depend on their customers and specific compliance guidelines, so organizations need to make sure they stay up to date.
5. Develop procedures to align with compliance rules
Data center employees must align their procedures with the compliance rules they follow, as compliance audits are conducted on a regular basis. Examples of processes and procedures are:
- Identification of security gaps. Data center administrators should conduct an inventory of the network to identify any security risks, vulnerabilities, and exposures.
- Physical security assessment. Facility personnel must verify physical access control of devices in the facilities. They must also install surveillance cameras and other surveillance equipment.
- problem treatment. Data center employees must document the incident management process, procedures, roles, and personnel involved. This includes responses and recovery efforts during an incident.
- Training processes. Managers must provide initial training for all staff, onboarding training for new hires, and ongoing training for all. They should emphasize reporting procedures for employees so that data center administrators can learn how to report nonconformities.